Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1050/29375
From The Socialist newspaper, 17 July 2019
Leicestershire - No more austerity!
Protesting against Leicester council cuts, photo Leicester Socialist Party (Click to enlarge)
Heather Rawling, NUT union life member and Unison (personal capacity)
'We will pay you £60 to attend a consultation session with Leicestershire County Council.' I couldn't believe that I had heard the man correctly. £60 to tell them what I think of them. Count me in!
The evening was designed to get people to appreciate how the poor councillors were agonising over the cuts they had to make.
The council has had a £100 million cut in its revenue support grant and the director of finance said it needed to make £75 million in cuts even though the population is set to rise by 107,000.
Also, Special Education Needs costs are set to rise by 22% and the numbers of children in council care are set to rise by 13% each year.
So, already families are struggling to cope. Here is where we, the public, came in. The consultation was to imagine we were councillors, look at the figures and say where we would make the cuts. Then the councillors could claim this is what we wanted!
So I asked how much the council had in reserves. It's £100 million. The council is a hung council with a small Tory majority. Councils don't have to make cuts. The director of finance muttered something about illegal budgets, but he was informed that using reserves is not illegal.
Leicestershire County Council has already cut £200 million since 2010. Children and young people's services and adult social care, the biggest budgets, have already been cut to the bone. Any further cuts would mean that the council would be in danger of not fulfilling its statutory duties. Leicestershire is not the only council in this situation.
We have already had more than a decade of austerity and misery as working-class people have been forced to pay for the capitalist economic downturn. The labour and trade union movement should organise a fightback to defend jobs and services.
Labour councillors should refuse to vote for cuts and instead organise a mass campaign of communities and trade unions to demand funding from the government. Liverpool socialist council in the 1980s showed the way.
I have given the £60 to the Socialist Party fighting fund to further that fight!
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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 17 July 2019:
What we think
Stop Boris - general election now
Fraudsters thrive and claimants suffer in despicable Universal Credit scam
Wales: chronic NHS underfunding exposed
Them & Us
Imperial typewriters dispute
The 45th anniversary of the strike
NSSN conference 2019: at the heart of trade union struggle
Health visitors strike for the first time ever
Bradford NHS workers strike against privatisation
Victory for Stagecoach bus strikers!
Newham housing repairs workers announce strike dates
Council seeks to take budget deficit out on school staff and pupils
Moon landing 50 years on
50 years since Apollo 11 - 'One giant leap': how political conflict launched the moon landing
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Socialist change to end climate change
Residents mobilise to stop eviction
Stop the fire service cuts
Durham Miners' Gala
Campaigners force U-turn over NHS privatisation
Leicestershire - No more austerity!
Excellent response to building fund appeal
Socialist Party Fighting Fund
International socialist news and analysis
Greece elections: Syriza ousted amid voter disillusionment
Sudan masses mobilise against state repression
Interview: protests over killing in Israel
The Socialist Inbox
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