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Posted on 31 January 2020 at 11:41 GMT

Socialist Party calls anti-austerity protest on Budget Day 11 March

Trade unionists in Carmarthenshire lobbying their council for a no-cuts budget, photo Scott Jones

Trade unionists in Carmarthenshire lobbying their council for a no-cuts budget, photo Scott Jones   (Click to enlarge)

The Socialist Party is calling an anti-austerity protest on budget day 11 March 2020, from 1pm in Parliament Square.

Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party general secretary and former editor of Militant, says: "We are calling this protest to say austerity must end.

"Johnson has claimed it's over but he lies as he speaks. The Tories have already indicated they will demand 5% cuts across government departments.

And the Tory plan to wind up the funding of local government means further devastation for millions of people piled on what has already been suffered. We have no choice but to carry on the fight against austerity.

"In fact, the level of poverty is indicated by the fact that mortality rates in parts of Britain, such as Blackpool, Manchester and Hull, is higher than in parts of Turkey, Slovenia and Romania.

Since 2010 almost 800 libraries have been closed; there's been a 73% cut in spending on youth services; social care is a social crisis; councils have cut over 800,000 jobs in that period; almost 200,000 council homes have been lost. Young people in particular are shown there's no future on offer for them.

"But the mood to fight the cuts is growing. Look at the recent decision by the million-strong Unite trade union in its London and Eastern region -it voted to back anti-cuts Enfield Labour councillor Tolga Aramaz and call on other councillors to make the same stand.

"Even Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson appears to be finally coming round to the position of refusing to carry on carrying out Tory cuts.

"Is he finally learning the lessons of the heroic Liverpool council in 1983-5 who built a mass movement in the city? They refused to make cuts and mobilised a mass movement in the city - including city wide general strikes and mass demos of 50,000.

"They won 60m back off the Thatcher government and built 5,000 homes, opened six nurseries and created 2,000 jobs.

"If Joe is prepared to fight and not to postpone the battle but defend the living conditions of working people now - then we will fight with him.
"When Liverpool council started out in its battle it linked up with councils across the country. We are prepared to give the maximum support to councils and anyone who is prepared to stand up and defy Johnson and the Tories and fight for the money stolen by them from working class communities.
"The Labour leadership candidates are keen to show they're on the side of the working class. We call on the Labour leadership and deputy leadership candidates to demand that Labour councils take a stand, refuse to make cuts and fight for the money the Tories have stolen from our jobs and services.

"We're calling for the trade unions and the communities to rise up against Tory austerity. We call on trade unions to commit to fight the Tory plans to attack the right to strike and to back workers to fight every cut.

"We demand councils take the Liverpool road - using their existing powers to fight austerity - no-cuts budgets and mobilising a fight in the workplaces, colleges, communities, tenants and residents associations, and everywhere austerity's cold cruelty touches our lives.

"If they don't do that, they will face a challenge by those who will and the Socialist Party will be there in the front line.

"On Budget Day Johnson's lies that he has working class interests at heart will be exposed."

Info for press

This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 31 January 2020 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

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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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