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From The Socialist newspaper, 28 October 2020

Fight Leeds Labour council's massive cuts

 photo Paul Mattsson

photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Michael Johnson, Leeds Socialist Party

Leeds Labour-run council has announced plans for massive cuts in services and jobs across the city in the coming months and year, on the basis of pressures on the council due to Covid-19.

In September alone, the council made plans for cuts of around 32.6 million, with a reduction in jobs of almost 530 full-time staff! And now, a month later, there are proposals for further cuts amounting to nearly 8 million and 88.7 full-time equivalent roles on top of September's plans.

These most recent proposals include closures of two care homes and one day centre. This is a shocking attack on some of the most vulnerable people in the city, at a time when they are already dealing with the impact of Covid on their care, and carers who have been putting their lives at risk throughout the crisis.

The closure of these services will ultimately serve no purpose other than forcing residents and staff into private care homes, with no guarantee on the quality of the service.

In addition, at a time when Labour MPs are joining a chorus of criticism of the Tories' suggestions that people working in the arts retrain, Leeds council is proposing major cuts to arts and leisure throughout the city, including reductions in grants to theatres and stopping public events like Christmas lights.

Recommendations for increased fees for bulky waste collections are made, something that will mainly be a penalty for those who don't drive or have access to a car, typically the poorest and most vulnerable.

To add insult to injury, among other proposals is a second increase in as many months in fees for bereavement services!

Following these proposals becoming public GMB, the union representing a number of the workers impacted, particularly workers in the care homes and day services, put out a statement rightly calling the proposals "unforgivable and a total kick in the teeth," and making clear they do not accept them and "will be campaigning at all levels to stop any closures."

This campaign should be joined by the other local government unions in particular, alongside the wider trade union movement, to send the message that these cuts are not only wrong but unnecessary.

Cuts due to Covid, passed on by Labour councils on behalf of the Tories, can be fought. If Labour councillors aren't prepared to take up this fight, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is prepared to put forward an anti-austerity socialist programme at next year's elections.

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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.
  • 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 28 October 2020:

What we think

Tories' school meals outrage

Coronavirus News

Don't let Tories starve our kids

Tory 'Starve a Kid to Save a Quid' scheme

Boots launches 120, 12-minute Covid test

Under the microscope

Workplace News

Backing Hugo Pierre for Unison general secretary

Royal Mail: No more behind closed doors talks

Fight Leeds Labour council's massive cuts

Workplace news in brief


NHS England's 1bn winter shortfall: we need union action, not platitudes!

BAME Covid deaths due to capitalist inequality, confirms government

Mayor and government compete to attack London transport: fight for no cuts!

Grenfell watch: landlord's 800,000 saving

Food Standards

Food and a capitalist Brexit: No trust in Tory Deals!

International News

Nigeria protests shake regime

"We need a leadership that comes from the movement"

Bolivia elections: Crushing defeat for the right as MAS secures landslide victory

US presidential election


Online youth rally says: We won't pay with our futures

Birmingham: 'Refund our fees' protests

Solidarity with the movement in Nigeria

Evicted students can fight back and win

Waltham Forest Save Our Square:

Why I joined the Socialist Party - "I'm 15, and already I've lived through two global recessions and a pandemic"

Bristol jobs protest: We want 100% pay

Readers' Opinion

One rule for them, and another for us

Books that inspired me: Germinal

The Socialist Inbox


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