Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1028/28634
From The Socialist newspaper, 6 February 2019
Worcestershire: save the libraries, reverse all the cuts
The threatened St John's Library, Worcester, photo Philip Halling/St John's Library/CC (Click to enlarge)
Sean McCauley, Worcester Socialist Party
Worcestershire's Tory county council wants to close nine community libraries, and sack workers and reduce opening hours in at least six others. We say no! Enough is enough!
The decade of decimation has seen the council slash its services by £168 million, making over 2,000 council workers redundant. Countless other jobs and services have been "outsourced" - privatised at knockdown rates, with little protection for workers transferred to profit-hungry private sector companies.
No more cuts! They admit they want to axe another £17 million this year, but the real scale of "savings" will reach £23 million by 2020.
That means 200 more job losses, £1 million cuts to library services resulting in jobs going and reductions in opening hours. It means the closure of four residential children's homes, and cuts to bus service funding. It means more misery for council workers and those who depend on their services.
Elect anti-cuts councillors! We don't want to elect councillors to sack workers and close libraries. We want to elect them to fight for our services and create jobs.
The money is there! Councillors have lied to us for years, telling us there is no more money.
But what we need for services is being used to boost the profits of greedy 'private finance initiative' (PFI) partners. They siphoned off over £90 million of public money during the fiasco that is the Hartlebury incinerator, with £12.6 million still earmarked to bankroll the deal.
And these private sector "partners" stand to benefit to the tune of £221 million for the rebuilding of Bromsgrove schools. This is using the same PFI scheme which is so corrupt even the Tory chancellor, Philip Hammond, has said government will no longer use similar schemes in future.
All PFI deals should be scrapped now! And if the private sector "partners" demand compensation or try to activate penalty clauses, let's bring them into public ownership, with no compensation to fat cats, under the local democratic control of workers and service users.
Plan a no-cuts budget! End the chaos and plan for what workers and communities truly need. We could start by using the £2 million reserves the council is refusing to touch. We could use 'prudential borrowing' powers as councils have always done.
All this to buy time to build a mass campaign in Worcestershire to end austerity, reverse the 2,000 job cuts, and secure proper funding for all our services from this weak and wobbly Tory government. If councillors aren't prepared to do that, they should resign to let in candidates who are.
- Save St John's Library - public meeting: Tuesday 12 February, 7-9pm, Room 3, St John's Library, Glebe Close, Worcester WR2 5AX
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In The Socialist 6 February 2019:
What we think
Corbyn must prepare for a general election: Remove the pro-capitalist saboteurs - fight for the socialist alternative
College lecturers strike for a pay rise
University and College Union elections
PCS: Campaign for Chris Baugh for AGS
Traffic wardens' strike is just the ticket
Unison: Democracy and the right to speak out are under threat
Historic strike of nurses in Ireland
Backing for the Birmingham homecarers
Tory Brexit farce, Corbyn and unions: Call mass action now
Cash-starved health service ripped off by big pharma - fund our NHS now!
Struggling unis account for bulk of unconditional offers - end education marketisation!
Billionaires avoid paying and even talking about tax! Take the wealth off the 1%
Them & Us
40 years since the Iranian revolution: Learning the lessons for today's new working-class struggles
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Haringey 'Corbyn council' must fight borough regeneration
Victory! Campaign reverses Wallasey fire cuts
Sheffield tree campaigners' legal win
Worcestershire: save the libraries, reverse all the cuts
'Stansted 15' deportation protesters could face jail
North West Socialist Party conference
International socialist news and analysis
United States: LA teachers' strike defeats privatisers
France gilets jaunes' backed by mass strike action
Sweden: dock strikes test new government
United States: strike ends federal shutdown
Film: Vice - Dick Cheney - a cold and calculating opportunist
Theatre: Ballad of Johnny Longstaff
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