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From The Socialist newspaper, 27 February 2019

Kirklees: Labour and Green councillors refuse to fight the cuts

Kirklees Save Our services trade union protest against cuts , photo Huddersfield Socialist Party

Kirklees Save Our services trade union protest against cuts , photo Huddersfield Socialist Party   (Click to enlarge)

Cormac Kelly, Huddersfield Socialist Party

Kirklees Council's finance director, Eammon Croston, told a public meeting on 22 January that it plans 10.9 million of cuts this financial year.

More cuts will follow between 2020 and 2022. And no one knows what is going to happen after that.

Kirklees is a working-class area including Huddersfield, Dewsbury, Batley and surrounding areas in West Yorkshire. It has four Labour MPs, and Labour narrowly controls the district council.

The council claims it is going to spend more on adult learning. Also on child protection, following the recent conviction of the Huddersfield grooming gang. It is not clear if this is new money, or where exactly it will come from.

Socialist Party members challenged Kirklees councillors. We called on them to use reserves and prudential borrowing powers to stop the cuts, while building a campaign to win the money back from Westminster.

At the time of its last accounts in April, Kirklees had useable reserves of 185 million.

Instead, their policy is that reserves will be increased after 2018! Shabir Pandor, Labour leader of the council, claimed reserves would run out in a few weeks if the council was not careful! The leader of the Green group also argued strongly that reserves mustn't be touched.

After all, as councillors pointed out, there might be a snow storm leading to gritting, or someone might dump dangerous chemicals and then clear off. 185 million is a lot for gritting and chemical removal.

The Tory group leader reported the council's "cheap" bins contract with Suez is up for renegotiation, and it would cost a lot more for a new contract. The increased cost - doled out not to bin workers, but to fat cats at Suez - would have to come from reserves!

With the Socialist Party playing a leading role, the mass campaign to save Huddersfield Royal Infirmary's A&E has pushed back the NHS cutters. Meanwhile, the Labour administration, backed by the other parties, has avoided pressure with 'salami slicing' tactics of cutting here and there.

Socialist Party member Mike Forster is standing in this year's local elections, on a platform of ending all cuts and fighting for the money we need, appearing on the ballot paper as Socialist Alternative.

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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 27 February 2019:


What we think

Honda closure threatened

From anger to action to save Honda plant


Socialist Party feature

Defending the city that dared to fight


Council cuts

Kirklees: Labour and Green councillors refuse to fight the cuts

Leicester: cuts passed in record time - use the 100m reserves!

Worcestershire: save the nine libraries


Socialist Party news and analysis

Kick out austerity politicians

Socialist change, not climate change!

Tory education 'reforms'

Blairite traitor Ian Austin - byelection now!

Cuts councils massage homelessness figures

US: "Launch a mass, working-class fightback"


Workplace news and analysis

Supermarket giants merger: protect jobs and fight price hikes

Birmingham Bin workers and home carers strike on same day

University and College Union: anti-union laws frustrate strike ballot again

Manchester posties strike against bullying

Liverpool Women's Hospital

PCS union: help us win the elections and pay campaign

South East Unison annual general meeting votes for no-cuts budgets


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

E-subscribe to the Socialist today!

Tommy Robinson BBC demo: socialist fightback needed to undermine far right

Nottingham Labour Corbyn rally

PCS union branch opposes cuts to women's services

International Women's Day meetings and other events

Five years on - and still no justice for Zane


Opinion

Non-fiction: 'Unhealthy Profits: PFI in the NHS'

Art exhibition: 'Unobtania' by Peter Robson

The Socialist inbox


 

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Related links:

Kirklees:

triangleKirklees bin workers' strike forces management back

triangleSummer of discontent on the cards in Huddersfield bin workers' dispute

triangleBin workers take strike action after talks with Kirklees council collapse

triangleUnison ballots workers at Yorkshire hospitals at risk of privatisation

triangle'When we fight, we can win' - campaign halts hospital closure

Labour:

triangleClass collaboration and worker militancy in World War Two Britain

triangleLabour leadership election: Starmer wins but the fight for socialism goes on

triangleEnd of the Corbyn era - Organise to fight for socialist policies

triangleEnd of the Corbyn era

Green:

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Cuts:

triangleNewham campaign set up against council cuts and tax hikes

triangleCouncils must break austerity rules

Councillors:

triangleCamarthenshire: Councillors' 'walk of shame'

Council:

triangleA day in the life of a frontline worker

Huddersfield:

triangleLaunch of Huddersfield Women's Lives Matter

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