The Socialist 14 May 2014 |
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On the campaign trail with TUSC
Suffering austerity - standing for TUSC
I'm standing for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) in the Central Southsea ward of Portsmouth City.
Having grown up in South Wales and seeing the effects of the Thatcher period on those around me, I guess you could say my political choices were slowly being defined without me realising. I've always supported what I understood to be socialist principles, but mainly from the sidelines.
When the period of austerity began, my wife and I were severely affected. I'm a carer for my wife, who relies heavily upon Disabled Living Allowance (DLA) to pay her way in life and maintain her independence.
I was working as a coordinator for Sure Start but several of my colleagues and myself were caught up in the "efficiency measures", reducing the service down by a third, and then again six months later, by another third.
Even though David Cameron claimed the budget for Sure Start would not be cut by his government, he failed to mention that its ring fence would be removed. This left local authorities free to cut what they like.
After 12 months of applying for work, I finally secured a job as a manager in the voluntary sector, working with special educational needs children. This lasted only three months due to cuts. Since then I've been caring full time for my wife while saving what I can to re-train as a counsellor/psychotherapist, a profession not recognised by the government as important enough to qualify for any type of loan or subsidy.
In the last four years, we both have seen people affected by a string of unfair and misdirected cost 'saving' measures such as the bedroom tax, caring allowance and council tax benefit cuts. If I'm honest, although I am kept busy, volunteer up to ten hours a week in the community, relying upon benefits for such a long time has been a big challenge practically and emotionally.
The covert privatisation of the NHS and the sell-off of the Royal Mail were the straws that broke the camel's back.
The fact more cuts are still to come to those who had nothing to do with the financial crash of our boom and bust economic model, convinced me to do what I could to help TUSC.
I hope this landmark in TUSC's history will be the beginning of cementing a true alternative to the self-centred, populist political climate which has suffocated and failed the 99%.
I'm proud to be a part of such efforts.
TUSC and students
As a student I experience first-hand the strain that this government's spending cuts and agenda of privatisation has put on our lives.
Expensive, uncapped rents through uncooperative agencies who seem reluctant to carry out any repairs to student housing; jeopardising our grades by having to work part time to make ends meet and a debt that we will still be paying off well into our 40s (if not longer) are only some of the problems that today's students face. TUSC pledges to introduce rent controls, halt marketisation and privatisation and fight for a free education for all, in order to improve our standard of living both now and in the future.
Zoe Brunswick, TUSC candidate in Fallowfield, and University of Manchester student
Lambeth deserves socialist councillors
Lambeth is one of London's most deprived boroughs. But we've shown we're ready to fight.
Lambeth College and the Ritzy Picturehouse are standing up to greedy bosses with strikes. Clapham Fire Station was saved by a large and vibrant local campaign. The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) backs the lot. But Lambeth is still blighted by high rent, low pay and gaping cuts to vital services.
Young people and low-paid workers are forced further and further out by obscene rents. But instead of responding to a social housing crisis by building social housing, Labour is selling it off and evicting the tenants! This council has offloaded around £100 million of public housing stock while welcoming luxury developments for the rich.
TUSC wants the council to use its licensing powers to control rents. Private rents should be brought in line with social rents. We also want a massive programme of council house building and renovation.
I would use a council seat as a platform to back trade union struggles. We want a £10 an hour minimum wage with no exceptions. Like all TUSC candidates, I pledge never to vote for a single cut or for privatisation.