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From The Socialist newspaper, 21 January 2009

Wirral anti-cuts campaign

JUST BEFORE Christmas Wirral's ruling Lib-Lab coalition council announced plans to butcher cultural and leisure services. On 15 January the cabinet confirmed its intentions to press ahead with these cuts, with only a couple of concessions, despite mass public outrage. 12 libraries, two sports centres, two museums and a theatre still face closure. The cuts now go to full council for ratification on 9 February.

Merseyside Socialist Party members

Council leader Steve Foulkes announced: "We've made a big decision on your behalf." Well we don't want him to make these decisions for us! Open the books and let the council workers and community groups make the decisions.

A very high profile and vociferous anti-cuts campaign has been run by various community based groups and latterly the unions. This campaign has certainly shaken the councillors, and now must be stepped up.

Over 500 people held a noisy and colourful protest inside and outside the cabinet meeting, and the potential exists for a much greater campaign to be built.

The trade unions need to be pressed to take firmer actions, making the link with widespread job losses within the authority.

'Wirral Against the Cuts', launched to link local campaigns, brought together 50 people on 19 January to plan further action.

Socialist Party member Dave Lunn made it clear that the Liberal and Labour councillors will lose support as they vote for cuts, but the Tories are no alternative. Linking with other unions on Merseyside and looking to stand anti-cuts candidates at the next elections is the real way forward.

The council faces a 12 million deficit, partly due to their own incompetence, but we should also not forget the role of the government who cut the money available to all councils, year on year.

Extra funding from central government is a demand of the united campaign. Allied to this is the call for a 'needs-led' budget, the people of Wirral should not be drawn into arguing into which services should be cut.

Merseyside Socialist Party calls for:

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