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From The Socialist newspaper, 13 February 2019

Newham: women's refuge funds halved - Labour must use the 500m reserves

Newham anti-academies rally 26 February 2018, photo Niall Mulholland, photo Niall Mulholland

Newham anti-academies rally 26 February 2018, photo Niall Mulholland, photo Niall Mulholland   (Click to enlarge)

Mary Finch, East London Socialist Party

Newham's all-Labour council will decide which services will have their funding axed in its 2019-20 budget on 18 February.

Rokhsana Fiaz, the east London borough's new 'Corbynista' mayor, has 'consulted' the local community on what to prioritise.

She's pledged millions of pounds for care staff, youth services, and free meals for primary school children. These are all vital services which the Socialist Party has always fought to defend.

But where in her so-called "people's budget" is the commitment to end cuts?

Newham has the highest level of homelessness in England, according to homelessness charity Shelter. Workers have endured devastating poverty and attacks on pay and conditions in the past ten years.

While the Labour council selectively invests with one hand, it destroys public services with the other.

Council funding for women's refuges more than halved from 2010 to 2017 under the previous mayor, hated Blairite Robin Wales. In the same period, the number of domestic and sexual violence cases heard by Newham's 'Marac' safeguarding body has doubled!

Newham Council had 519 million in usable reserves at the time of its last financial statement in March. The 2017-18 budget set under Wales was at pains to stipulate that using this money was impossible because it's 'non-sustainable'.

But Labour councils are already running down reserves to deal with budgetary problems - while still making cuts.

If they mobilised local unions behind no-cuts budgets to demand more funding from central government, they could stop the cuts and replenish their reserves.

Labour's shadow chancellor John McDonnell should also pledge to underwrite all costs incurred by no-cuts council budgets.

This would encourage councils and make austerity unworkable - but councils can and must fight either way.

The Socialist Party has consistently fought for an immediate end to the cuts. We stood four no-cuts candidates against councillors who backed school privatisation in last year's council elections in Newham.

We call on Rokhsana Fiaz to set a real "people's budget" - one which uses reserves and borrowing to end austerity, and builds a campaign for funding to provide all the jobs, homes and services workers and young people desperately need.

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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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In The Socialist 13 February 2019:


What we think

Corbyn must launch struggle to kick out Blairites and fight for socialist policies


Socialist Party news and analysis

Universal Credit out - Tories out!

Mass pressure wins light sentence for 'Stansted 15'

To end climate change we need to fight for socialist change!

Marx memorial attack shows socialist ideas are on the rise

Them & us


International socialist news and analysis

France: striking workers confront Macron as historic gilets jaunes movement approaches "Act XIV"


Socialist Party feature

Ten years since Lindsey strike: when militant action stopped the 'race to the bottom'


Workplace news and analysis

Victory to Birmingham bin workers

Heroic RMT guards beat back Northern rail in fight against dangerous driver-only operation

Fight for a socialist-led PCS - fight to win the national pay campaign

Glasgow: nationalise the threatened 'Caley' railway depot

Leicester college workers refuse to accept cut in terms and conditions

Enfield: striking against academisation - fighting for a no-cuts budget

Workplace and union news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Southampton: Labour plans 15m cuts - vote Socialist in Coxford by-election

Newham: women's refuge funds halved - Labour must use the 500m reserves

Arrest Brigadier Fernando - defend the right to protest

Why I joined: "why is their life so different from mine?"

New pamphlet: 1919 - Red Flag over the Clyde

Celebrating Robert Burns 1759-1796

'Shac' campaign fights for housing

300 turn out for Corbyn in Nottingham marginal

Liverpool: 200 march to commemorate Robert Tressell

'Spot' conference opposes authoritarianism in Turkey


Opinion

'Green Book' film: a timely reminder of racism in the USA

'Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor': comedy and tragedy judiciously mixed

The Socialist inbox


 

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