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From The Socialist newspaper, 17 April 2019

Council elections - an opportunity to present a socialist alternative to cuts

Socialist Party members out campaigning for no-cuts candidates in previous council elections, photo by London Socialist Party

Socialist Party members out campaigning for no-cuts candidates in previous council elections, photo by London Socialist Party   (Click to enlarge)

On 2 May council elections are taking place in England, along with six directly elected mayors. The Socialist Party is contesting around 40 seats across the country, as well as the mayoral election in Leicester, under the electoral name of Socialist Alternative.
Below, Stephen Armstrong explains why he's contesting the Halton Brook Ward in Runcorn, Cheshire, as the Socialist Party candidate.

"I'm standing because of the damage austerity is causing in my community and to oppose the Labour councillors who are passing on the Tory cuts instead of protecting local public services.

Council tax has risen again in Halton, and a precept has been added to our bills in order to pay for the Liverpool city regional mayor. This is despite the Labour mayor Steve Rotheram sitting on an 80 million underspend!

Last year the Labour-run council increased council tax, cut Special Education Needs funding and added 10p to the price of school meals, while sitting on a cash reserve of 4.2 million.

We should also be scrapping the tolls on the Mersey Gateway Bridge and reducing allowances for cuts-making councillors.

As in many areas, housing is in short supply and many young people, stuck on low wages in zero-hour contract jobs, cannot afford to buy homes or rent from a private landlord.

The Socialist Party's policy of building council houses to create real jobs and homes for young people, and generate income for the council through rents, would be a massive success in Halton Brook.

Austerity has also impacted massively on the lives of working-class women. Wages, opportunities, pensions and services for women have all been cut drastically in the last nine years.

We must reverse these cuts, so women can have access to services that improve their lives, such as Sure Start, childcare and domestic violence support.

Knife crime and drugs are creating real problems both nationally and locally. Sadly, two teenagers have recently been convicted of killing another in Runcorn. Cuts to youth services, the lack of life chances and austerity in general, have created a perfect storm of disaffected young people.

We should be ploughing money into youth services, to create positive alternatives to drugs and crime for young people.

I have seen the real benefits our party's programme delivered to working-class people of Liverpool when I was growing up in the 1980s.

By standing on that programme, I believe we can overturn the establishment lies told about that period, create real interest in socialist politics, and raise the profile of our party in working class communities which have been abandoned by the Blairites in the Labour Party."

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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.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • 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 17 April 2019:


What we think

Tories facing electoral meltdown - but only a socialist alternative to austerity can finish them off


News

100 billion for bosses - cuts for us.

Assange arrest: US and allied governments seeking revenge for exposing dirty wars

Labour looks to Bank of England to stall house prices

No-fault evictions ban, but cuts leave tenants vulnerable

Cuts drive council tax debt

Labour needs socialist policies to solve "climate emergency"


Minimum wage

20 years of the minimum wage: Fight for a real living wage for every worker


Workplace news

Newham bin workers ballot for strikes

Arriva Rail North cleaners fight bosses' punitive pay arrears

School staff demand action on pay and testing at NEU conference

Deliveroo workers protest at firm's Nottingham roadshow

PCS union: vital local strikes and a national pay ballot - vote for a fighting leadership

Unison union: right wing tries to block campaigning - elect a socialist leadership


International socialist news and analysis

Sudan: No to rule of the generals!


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Labour councils must act now to save our schools!

Council elections - an opportunity to present a socialist alternative to cuts

Activists rally in fight for more council housing and against high rents

Alternative housing awards

'Reforms' hollow out the NUS

Youth climate strikes: Democratic organisation and socialist policies needed


Opinion

Engels' classic essential for understanding socialist ideas old and 'new'

Real life on Universal Credit: "As soon as I get billed for my electric, I'm finished"

The Socialist Inbox


 

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Related links:

Council elections:

triangleEngland council elections: socialist anti-cuts message chimes with voters

triangleWorcester: Fightback against library cuts

triangleLabour councils must act now to save our schools!

triangleNew twist in Derby TUSC election agent case

triangleHaringey 'Corbyn council': end the secrecy and confusion - lead a fight against the cuts

Socialist:

triangleBasingstoke Socialist Party: 30 years ago - the anti-Poll Tax movement

triangleBradford Socialist Party: Trotskyism and the Second World War

triangleBradford Socialist Party: 'The State and Revolution'

Socialist Alternative:

triangleCapitalism means empty shelves, food insecurity, and soaring profits - the case for a socialist alternative

triangleSocialist change to end climate change

triangleIndia General election shows crying need for independent socialist alternative

Elections:

triangleMore than ever, we need accountable union leaders

triangleFrench local elections: CWI candidate elected

Cuts:

triangleNewham campaign set up against council cuts and tax hikes

Council:

triangleGoing viral - Socialist letters and comments on the coronavirus crisis

Labour:

triangleEnd of the Corbyn era

Runcorn:

triangleEnd Runcorn school PFI rip off

Liverpool:

triangleLiverpool & District Socialist Party: 30 years ago - How the poll tax was defeated

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