Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 23 June 2021

TUSC calls for local 'People's Budget' campaigns

Camarthen lobby of council, 19.2.14, photo Les Woodward

Camarthen lobby of council, 19.2.14, photo Les Woodward   (Click to enlarge)

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) All-Britain Steering Committee is calling on all local TUSC groups, individual members, supporters and affiliated groups in areas where they are active, to begin to lay plans for the year ahead - focusing on local 'People's Budget' campaigns.

The June meeting of the steering committee agreed that developing and promoting a local people's budget could form the basis of a vibrant electoral challenge in the council elections scheduled for May 2022. There are over 200 councils with elections then.

The committee also agreed that other areas where there are no elections in May 2022 should not wait either. As society prepares to move on from the Covid pandemic a People's Budget campaign could play a central role in bringing trade union branches, campaigns and community groups together to fight at a local level for what communities will need, not what Tory austerity will demand.

The role councils could play

Contrary to the impression given by the establishment mainstream media - which reduces 'politics' to games at Westminster (and, sometimes, the devolved parliaments) - the decisions taken by locally elected councils are central to the provision of many services that directly affect the daily lives of millions.

The Tories have made deep cuts to councils' funding in the past decade, but local authorities still account for over one-fifth of all public spending, with powers over housing, education support, adult social care, sports and leisure facilities, youth provision, transport, recycling and rubbish collection, libraries, children's centres, community grants, environmental planning, and many other services.

Most current councillors, including, unfortunately, the majority of Labour's 6,300 or so local councillors, see their role as administrators of austerity, not as campaigners for more and better services. A local People's Budget, however, could set a different agenda, based on what the community needs, and illustrate the need for a different type of councillor too.

That applies to all councils, but particularly to the 120 or so Labour-led councils which could make such a difference if they chose too. Their combined spending power is actually greater than the state budgets of 16 EU countries!

A glimpse of what is possible

Earlier this year the TUSC steering committee published a report examining the policy pledges made in Labour's 2019 general election manifesto under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership, which councils have the legal powers to implement today if they had the political will to do so. The report identifies 46 separate policies which councils could carry out, immediately, transforming peoples' lives.

These range from breakfast clubs and free school meals for all primary school pupils; local replacements for the Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA) for 16-18 year-olds in education; free bus travel for under-25s; a council house building programme; rent controls for licensed landlords; the end of '15-minute maximum' home care visits; to a mass home insulation energy efficiency programme to fight climate change.

Even just a selection of these policies could form the basis of a People's Budget to present to the local council. But inviting local trade union branches, campaign groups, community organisations, student groups and others to contribute would undoubtedly come up with more ideas, and lay the basis for a campaign for the local council to implement them now, using their reserves and borrowing powers to temporarily finance them while launching a mass campaign locally and nationally for permanent funding from central government.

How councils could use their powers to temporarily maintain a 'balanced budget' while fighting for proper resources from the government, has been explained in previous TUSC documents (see

But what is most needed is a will to fight - or to stand aside for those who have got the determination to do so.

What steps can groups take?

TUSC groups should look to meet and begin to lay out plans to host a People's Budget conference before the end of 2021, to draw together the local set of demands and campaign issues to take to the council ahead of their 2022-23 budget-setting meeting, which will take place in January or February 2022.

After deciding on a date for the People's Budget conference, a plan of action should be discussed and drawn up to build for it, by contacting trade union branches, campaign groups, community groups, residents associations and so on, to take part - co-hosting if they wish, but certainly inviting them to contribute with their ideas and proposals for what is needed in the local area.

The council unions will themselves be examining the council's initial proposals for the 2022-23 budget, while many community groups with full or part-funding from the local council - or users of council-funded facilities or services - will be discussing their own finances and plans in the autumn period as councils start their budget consultations.

People's Budget campaigns can play an important role everywhere in organising a local fightback to the efforts the pro-capitalist politicians will make to pass the costs of the Covid pandemic onto the shoulders of working-class people. But in areas with local council elections next year - covering a bigger range of councils than in 2021 - they could be central in pulling together the broadest possible anti-austerity electoral challenge.

Donate to the Socialist Party

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 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.
  • 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.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation


Your message: 


In The Socialist 23 June 2021:

What we think

Chesham and Amersham by-election


NHS in crisis - 'It's time for action'

Outsourced London hospital workers fight for better pay

Leicester private healthcare tragedy

Exeter Trades Council backs NHS protests


Northern Ireland and Brexit

Sacking non-vaccinated care workers will not save lives

Furlough reduction risks job losses

Building back better? Fight for a socialist recovery

Anti-protest bill breaches human rights

Tories deliberately underfund childcare

Unite election

Unite general secretary contest: Vote for Sharon Graham

NSSN conference 2021

NSSN conference 2021: When given a lead workers will fight


Women and the criminal 'injustice' system

Tory review won't deliver justice for rape victims


Iran's presidential election

Are Biden's immigration policies a break with Trump's?

Workplace news

Interview with newly elected Unison NEC member and hospital worker

Gateshead: Bosses sack sparks protesting for safety measures

Oaks Park school strike against bully bosses

Leicestershire engineers' fifth week of strikes against fire and rehire

DVLA dispute: Escalation needed

Warehouse workers fight 50% cut in redundancy pay

Carmarthenshire: Fighting for trade union recognition at council-owned company


TUSC calls for local 'People's Budget' campaigns

Youth Fight For Jobs: more urgent than ever

London Socialist Party young members' day school

'Socialism is the hope of the world'

Fighting Fund target smashed!

Readers' Opinion

Book review: Shuggie Bain

Response to Observer article on China


Home   |   The Socialist 23 June 2021   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:


triangleWant to fight austerity?

trianglePeople's Budget: We beat council cuts before, we will again

triangleWakefield TUSC public meeting: The crisis of working-class political representation

triangleYork & North Yorkshire TUSC people's budget meeting

triangleTUSC appeals for widest possible anti-austerity socialist unity for May elections


triangleBirmingham: Cuts consultations replaced by computer game

triangleBuilding People's Budgets: An alternative to Tory and Labour cuts

triangleBuilding a political alternative to Tory and Labour cuts

triangleBirmingham People's Budget


triangleNewham college strike solid against bully privatisers

triangleCoventry bin strike continues

triangleNewham council rejects using 0.03% of reserves to fund arts


triangleLocal government elections

triangleArgentine elections see deepening polarisation


triangleWorkplace news in brief

Council elections:

triangleThe fight for Hackney's children's centres continues

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis



Want to fight austerity?



Tories hand cash to private health profiteers



Tory vaccine sacking threat set to deepen NHS staffing crisis



Tories on the ropes - Build a workers' alternative



No trust in Tories to keep us safe



Employers use vaccine excuse to attack sick pay



News in brief


Welfare state

Mutual aid, the welfare state and the fight for a new mass workers' party


Socialist Party

Pamphlet: What the Socialist Party stands for



Super-rich get richer, while we can't make ends meet. Join the fightback!



Low pay, stress and Covid drive: NHS staff crisis



Covid, stress and cutbacks fuel school staff shortages


Black Lives Matter

Blow to establishment as jury backs Colston Four



Energy price crisis: nationalise energy giants to save us from 600 hit



Energy bosses: 'Jump, cuddle and eat porridge while we raise prices'

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: [email protected]

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 077 7221 5281

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 078 0983 9793



Alphabetical listing

January 2022