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From The Socialist newspaper, 12 September 2018

Reading council plans privatisation - set a no-cuts budget instead!

Women march against the cuts, photo Paul Mattsson

Women march against the cuts, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

John Gillman, Reading Trade Union Council (personal capacity)

Reading Borough Council plans to privatise many of its key services. Bins, parks, road maintenance, housing benefit payments and council tax support are all at risk.

It is threatening to restrict the free bus pass for disabled people and their carers. If it gets away with this, museums, libraries and adult education could be next.

As far as council workers and service users are concerned, it will mean suffering with job cuts, worse terms and conditions and even more decimated services. This is on top of 20 million cuts a year because of the Tory government's attacks on local authority funding and the failure of the Labour-led council to fight these cuts.

However, in what might be a sign that the council is under pressure not to carry out these proposals, it has extended the consultation period until 14 September.

A reversal of all the cuts is needed. It is the national policy of local government trade unions Unison, GMB and Unite for councils to set no-cuts budgets. Reading Council's last financial statement said it has over 28 million in reserves and that to borrow 20 million would only cost it 1.5 million a year.

On this basis the council could set a legal no-cuts budget which would be popular, especially if it included building real, affordable council homes, restoring services, increasing the number employed with trade union rates of pay, terms and conditions, and job security for council staff.

Labour's general election manifesto promised an immediate 4 billion injection to local government and a review of council finances. Corbyn should pledge now that any council prepared to stand up to the Tories and implement a no-cuts budget would have the funding restored on day one of a Corbyn-led government.

If the councillors addressed the council workforce with the above programme it would have mass support among council workers and the wider working and middle classes. If councillors are not prepared to fight on such a programme then working class people could support standing anti-cuts council candidates that will.

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In The Socialist 12 September 2018:


What we think

Corbyn must lead in fight against the Blairites


News

Tories in chaos - general election now!

Enfield North Labour Party votes 'no confidence' in its MP

4m children in homes that can't afford fruit and veg

Fearful bosses call for 'fairer capitalism'...

School students in solitary: for full funding, not exclusion!

Them & Us


Financial crash

10 years since the financial crash - the socialist answer to capitalist crisis


Workplace

NSSN rally: militant trade unionists share ideas to win for workers

TUC congress Brexit debate: unions must lead fight for a general election

Guards move closer to beating driver-only operation on Merseyrail giving confidence to other strikes

Cardiff Uber Eats couriers strike back against bosses

Workplace news in brief


International socialist news and analysis

Nicaragua: With the people against the Ortega government and imperialism

Support for Putin's regime dips over major attacks on state pensions

Sweden: left and far right gain as establishment parties falter

Ireland housing occupations


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Catford campaign against regeneration

Students unite and fight - free education now!

Reading council plans privatisation - set a no-cuts budget instead!

EDL outnumbered and confronted in Worcester

Fight against billionaire Newcastle boss Mike Ashley continues


Opinion

When working class women dominated football

The Socialist inbox


 

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