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From The Socialist newspaper, 1 November 2017

Derby: expenses for councillors, cuts for everyone else

'No cuts', photo JB

'No cuts', photo JB   (Click to enlarge)

Ian Hunter, Derby Socialist Party

The recent publication of the allowances and expenses of Derby city councillors for 2016-17 should cause more than a few raised eyebrows. At a time when the Labour-led council continues to make severe cuts to local jobs and services, the total of 812,749.45 will seem excessive to many in more straitened circumstances.

The figures show that the total each councillor receives consists of a basic allowance of 10,076 a year plus certain allowances such as a special responsibility allowance, travel, subsistence, and carer's allowances. Over half a million pounds is spent on councillor's basic allowances.

In the last four years the council has made cuts of 116 million and intends to make further cuts of 45 million by 2019. Planned cuts for 2017-18 will be 15 million.

The council continues to meekly and slavishly follow the Tory government's austerity policies even though this always affects the most vulnerable in society as local services have been axed and working people's wages have consistently fallen in real terms for over a decade. Simply to say you are anti-austerity is not enough, action is required.

A no-cuts budget could be prepared using council reserves and by borrowing money to restore essential and key services.

Services the council is legally obliged to fund like education support services, libraries and so on, have been cut to the bone.

A range of discretionary services, which carry no legal obligation but have traditionally been funded, include leisure, entertainment, grants to local organisations. These have either been severely reduced or cut altogether.

As an example, Derby Women's Centre, which for years has provided valuable assistance and support for victims of domestic abuse and violence, and is now no longer funded by the council. The support is required as much as ever but the centre and its supporters have to scuttle around constantly trying to raise funds wherever they can in order to maintain some semblance of vital support.

The current Tory government is weak and divided as the recent general election and support for Jeremy Corbyn's manifesto showed. It is time for Labour councils like Derby to be bold and determined to make a real difference and offer hope for the future by ending the programme of cuts.

Discussions include: local government - the next scene of the anti-austerity battle?

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 1 November 2017:


What we think

Westminster sexual harassment scandal: symptom of a rotten system


International socialist news and analysis

Catalonia: Rajoy's furious response to proclamation of Republic


Socialism 2017

Socialism 2017: ideas to change the world


Socialist Party news and analysis

Robber bosses own $6trn

Fight for free education: join the budget day protests!

Tories u-turn on social housing benefit cap and borrowing to build

Unions must fight workplace mental health crisis

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Them and us

What we saw


Workplace news and analysis

Coordinated strike action on five rail networks against driver-only operation

Arriva bus workers' dispute continues

PCS pay cap ballot closes soon

North east England blacklisting conference success


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Teachers, students and parents demand an end to the schools funding crisis

The "club no-one wants to be part of" - march by families of those killed in police custody

Derby: expenses for councillors, cuts for everyone else

Health campaign groups come together in Barnsley to protest closures and downgrades in the NHS

Anger over plan to build housing on Yorkshire flood plain


Socialist readers' comments and reviews

New play celebrates Grunwick strike

Skipton show proves draw of socialist art

The Socialist inbox


 

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