Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/704/13699
The Socialist 8 February 2012 |
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Tower Hamlets: Save Rushmead one stop shop - fight all cuts
Naomi Byron, Tower Hamlets Socialist Party
It's almost unheard of to see Labour Party members campaigning in Tower Hamlets, east London, more than two months before an election. But on 4 February, Labour had a stall to save Rushmead one-stop shop, a local housing office that serves around 50,000 people a year.
The campaign is also supported by Tower Hamlets Unison, staff and local residents. Half of all recent enquiries to the one-stop shop have been about housing benefit cuts, which will affect thousands in the borough.
It is the most vulnerable who will be worst affected if Rushmead closes. One of the other major cuts planned in council spending is to the homeless service!
The Rushmead Unison members present supported the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition pledge for anti-cuts candidates in the London assembly elections, and signed the Socialist Party petition for public sector unions to coordinate another pension strike.
A brief rally only had the Labour MP and the Tower Hamlets Unison branch secretary speaking. Fortunately the Unison speaker, after welcoming Labour's support for the Rushmead campaign, said it was a disgrace that Labour are making cuts elsewhere.
The hypocrisy from Labour councillors is astonishing. Labour voted to cut several local housing offices, and to transfer all council housing to an Almo (the first step to privatisation) despite tenants repeatedly voting to stay with the council.
Labour still has a majority on the council. But now Tower Hamlets has an elected ex-Labour 'independent' mayor, Lutfur Rahman, whose executive office is closing Rushmead.
The campaign to save Rushmead needs to be linked with the campaign to stop all cuts, not used to prop up the political careers of councillors who support cuts.