Carlisle Socialist Party’s action plan on floods

Carlisle Socialist Party’s action plan on flooding

Immediately following the floods Carlisle Socialist Party sent a letter to the local newspaper, extracts of which are below.

Dear Editor,

Carlisle Socialist Party met to draw up the following action plan.

Firstly, our demand for Labour councillors to refuse to implement Osborne’s cuts to vital local services in February has become more necessary. The planned cuts to 2,000 Cumbrian jobs and services, be it fire and rescue, care homes, road maintenance, etc, must obviously now be scrapped.

Secondly, Cameron’s 27% annual cut to flood defence funding (directly responsible for the flooding of Kendal) must be reversed.

Thirdly, not only do flood walls need to be improved urgently, but the man-made decisions to build on flood plains and to deforest the fells, which caused the rainwater to rush downhill so quickly and spill over the artificially narrowed waterways on lower ground, must be changed.

Instead of subsidising unsustainable hill grazing, the fells should be reforested to hold rainwater longer, with hill farmers offered alternative employment.

Fourthly, the privatised utility infrastructure needs to be renationalised, under the control not only of the workforce but also with elected, accountable representatives of local communities, to make sure they serve those communities and not absentee shareholders’ profits.

If United Utilities had released water from already full Thirlmere ahead of the predicted deluge, Keswick wouldn’t have been so badly flooded. Electricity substations finally need adequate, overdue flood defences.

Fifthly, there is now the accommodation crisis of the flood victims. Carlisle city council should requisition the 1,586 identified empty properties to house the homeless. Rents should be paid at a market rate by the insurance companies, with low social rents from those who couldn’t afford cover.

Last but not least, we need leadership to tackle climate change. If the selfish interests of big oil, big construction and the privatised energy suppliers get in the way, then they must be taken into public ownership.

Big prestige projects like Trident, Heathrow and HS2 should be scrapped to provide public investment funds for the environment and one million green jobs.

Brent Kennedy, Carlisle Socialist Party