“We want it back” – Restore Cardiff’s slashed services

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Taryn Tarrant-Cornish, Cardiff East Socialist Party

At the People’s Budget meeting called by Cardiff Trades Union Council, speaker after speaker spoke movingly about their personal experience, outlining the human cost of cuts.

Councillors must not pass on cuts from Westminster or the Senedd. Instead, they should dip into the city’s significant £150 million reserves.

But despite an increase in funding from the Senedd – £52.6 million in cash terms – Cardiff City Council has only proposed a ‘break-even’ budget, with more cuts to come. Cardiff Trades Union Council secretary, Dave Bartlett, said: “In the last ten years, 2,500 jobs have disappeared from local government, and £200 million of services have been cut in this city.”

Ruined lives

Wales Socialist Party secretary, Ross Saunders, spoke about youth workers and the hole left by their absence. “It’s a very skilled job that made the difference for the young people they worked with between a life that went off the rails in the world of addiction, chaos, a ruined life, or getting through a difficult period.”

Mia Hollsing previously worked for Welsh Women’s Aid. She said waiting lists for domestic violence services rose 140% during the Covid lockdowns, and she demanded a 140% rise in funding.

“We need trauma support. We need counselling therapy, group work. We need prevention. We need interventions for perpetrators of abuse. We need different forms of community support.

“And of course, we can’t just stop at domestic abuse services either. This is all linked to other things. So we need council housing because people need rehousing. Refuge is only a temporary solution.”

Slipping through cracks

George Phillips works for brain injury charity Headway, which “really does change their lives. But because of the cuts to our funding, people are slipping through the cracks, and we can’t provide the level of care that we need to provide.”

Socialist Party member John Williams called on the council to bring in rent control. “The council already licenses landlords and they should make charging a fair rent, a condition of being registered.”

The council should improve the fractured bus services and public transport to make it easier for people to travel and reduce pollution. Education provision is falling desperately short, especially following the impact of lockdowns. And services for children with additional needs are inadequate.

The meeting summed up the anger felt by many in a city where residents feel their futures look bleak, as the services they rely on are cut and privatised.