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From The Socialist newspaper, 24 April 2019

Leicester mayoral husting: only two choices - stop the cuts or make the cuts

Fighting council cuts in Leicester, photo Leicester Socialist Party, photo Leicester Socialist Party

Fighting council cuts in Leicester, photo Leicester Socialist Party, photo Leicester Socialist Party   (Click to enlarge)

Heather Rawling , NEU member (personal capacity)

It's a daily struggle to make ends meet for working-class people in Leicester, made worse by the cuts that the Labour council is making.

Yet at a recent mayoral hustings meeting, Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby (a 'left' in the 1970s), had the audacity to criticise the record of Liverpool's socialist Labour council in the 1980s - which was led by supporters of Militant, the forerunner of the Socialist Party.

Socialist Party member Steve Score, standing as the Socialist Alternative mayoral candidate, pointed out that Liverpool's record on building council homes back then (5,000 new homes) was without equal. The council built more houses than the rest of the country put together during its time in office, creating hundreds of jobs for local people.

Moreover, Leicester City Council in the 1980s, where Soulsby played a leading role, was one of the Labour councils that abandoned the struggle against Tory government cuts and left Liverpool to fight on its own.

Recently, Leicester City Council closed homeless shelters while giving 10 million to Travelodge to build another hotel. And yet he felt able to give a lecture on the complex needs of homeless people. I know, I have worked with some of them!

'Those estates'

Tracy Woolman of the Socialist Party, in response to Conservative mayoral candidate Baroness Verma's patronising statement that she had "been to these estates and met some of the people there", said, angrily, "well I live on one of 'those estates'!"

Tracy went on to point out the problems of people living in Leicester's council estates, where life is a battle to pay the rent and bills, to clothe and feed the children, and to get doctors' appointments.

Mags Lewis of the Green Party seemed more concerned about getting a woman mayor.

But Socialist Party members pointed out that it was the policies and programme that mattered, not the gender of the politician. Who wants another Margaret Thatcher?

Lewis raised the lack of public transport in the city meant people used their cars more, contributing to pollution. But she had no solution to the current total of 150 million cuts that the Tory government has made to the council budget. A lack of public transport means that people, particularly women, are left stranded on the estates, especially at night time.

Steve called for the buses to be run by the council and for it to subsidise non-profitable bus routes. He pointed out that the council had 166 million in reserves of which only 34 million was earmarked. Some of the remainder could be used to prevent cuts, while organising a mass campaign to force this weak Tory government to reverse the cuts in spending.

There were only two options: either stop the cuts and fight for more funding or make the cuts. Only the Socialist Party clearly stood against the cuts. No other candidate had a programme to deliver on their promises.

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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 24 April 2019:


What we think

How to save the planet? End capitalism; Socialist change


Socialist Party news and analysis

Northern Ireland: killing of Lyra McKee

Sri Lanka: No to terrorist bombing - united workers' struggle can cut off growth of racism and division


Socialist Party feature

The striking relevance of Leon Trotsky's Theory of Permanent Revolution


Workplace news and analysis

PCS union: strikes against poverty pay and job losses - vote Yes in national pay ballot

Doncaster NHS strike to stop terms and conditions attack


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Austerity must go! Kick out the Tories - we need a Socialist Alternative

Leicester mayoral husting: only two choices - stop the cuts or make the cuts

Housing associations - stop the segregation

Shac to name and shame housing bosses


May Day greetings

Socialist May Day greetings 2019


 

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Related links:

Leicester:

triangleSchools... no going back until it's safe

triangleLeicester care workers face pay cut and worse conditions

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triangleStrong union response needed against job cuts

triangleSafe protests against Tory corona chaos continue

triangleJohnson's plan terrifies me - readers react to lifting lockdown

Council:

triangleHull Trades Council debates workers' political representation

triangleCrisis in council services: Labour must fight or stand aside

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Socialist Alternative:

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