TUSC standing against cuts

TUSC photo Nick Chaffey
TUSC photo Nick Chaffey

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) – which the Socialist Party is part of – is standing hundreds of candidates in the 5 May local elections.  We’re demanding councils take action to tackle the cost-of-living crisis. Below, people say why they’re standing for TUSC.

Private profiteers have asset-stripped Southampton for too long

Catherine Clarke, TUSC candidate in Freemantle

Whether Conservatives, Labour or Liberal Democrats have been in charge of the council over the years, the city has had to endure cuts to services. While council tax, rent, transport, social care and utility bills increase, wages remain stagnant.

Even the Greens have now thrown their hat in with the Lib Dems, agreeing not to contest each other’s chosen wards. The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is standing in every ward in Southampton.

With 10,000 people on the housing waiting list, our council has the power to spend its £200 million reserves and take advantage of its unrestricted borrowing to provide 10,000 low-rent, high-quality, carbon-neutral council homes. We say compulsory buy empty homes, flats and offices and refurbish them. 

If elected, we would ensure all landlords are registered to cap all rents at genuinely affordable rates. A major, publicly funded insulation and energy plan for all existing housing stock would reduce energy bills and carbon footprint.

We would run a free solar-electric municipal bus service, rather than the profit-driven private service presently on offer. Routes could be expanded so people could leave their cars at home to reduce pollution and open up the streets to others.

We would restore youth services in every ward. This would help more vulnerable young people affected by crime and drug abuse.

We would return social and childcare facilities to public ownership providing free, high-quality services for all who needed it. We would immediately provide grants to all households who are struggling with their energy bills. By working closely with all trade unions – three TUSC candidates are on Southampton and South Hampshire Trades Union Council – we could encourage support for the renationalisation of energy companies and all utilities.

The private profiteers have asset-stripped Southampton services for too long. And COP26 has taught us that the capitalist market economy will never address the urgent issue of climate change. Only through a socialist alternative can this be achieved.

Cardiff Labour cuts create 44% Grangetown child poverty

Joe Fathallah, TUSC candidate in Grangetown

44% of Grangetown children grow up in poverty, in no small part due to Cardiff Council passing on vicious cuts.

Labour council leader Huw Thomas recently announced that Cardiff is aiming to participate in Unicef’s ‘child-friendly cities’ initiative. But this is a sick joke when held up against the reality for working-class children.

Grangetown Playcentre, locally known as the adventure playground, was effectively closed by the Labour council. The centre’s funding was cut, and it was transferred into ‘community control’, but this was a death sentence.

A facility like this needs professionally trained staff working full time. It wasn’t long before the centre ceased to function.

This was despite a heroic campaign by young people, parents, and youth workers – supported by Cardiff Against the Cuts. We held a mass protest, and marched on and occupied County Hall.

But the council pressed ahead with the cuts. There are no longer any facilities like this for children in Grangetown.

In 2014, the council proposed building a school on the site of Channel View leisure centre, another vital community facility. There is genuine need and demand for Welsh-medium education in Grangetown. We fully supported building the school – but not on top of the leisure centre!

The old Grangetown Library was sold off and converted into flats. It was replaced by Grangetown Hub, but this doesn’t have all the same facilities.

Working-class communities like Grangetown have been targeted, because Labour councillors – plus Plaid Cymru and Liberal Democrats when they were in coalition – have proved totally incapable of standing up and fighting against Tory austerity, and have instead passed cuts year after year. If elected, instead of voting through cuts, I would draw up – in collaboration with local communities – an alternative budget based on the real needs of the city. This would involve dipping into the council’s £120 million reserves to plug the funding gaps. This could buy time to launch a real fightback against the Tories in Westminster, involving council workers and trade unions, service users, and communities, to win the funding for the jobs and services we need.