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From: The Socialist issue 1071, 29 January 2020: End health and wealth divide - fight for our NHS

Search site for keywords: Women - Cuts - Labour - Domestic violence

Cuts to women's services cost lives

Womens Lives Matter campaigners fighting for domestic violence services, photo Iain Dalton

Womens Lives Matter campaigners fighting for domestic violence services, photo Iain Dalton   (Click to enlarge)

Women's Lives Matter statement

Women cannot wait.

In 2018, 173 people were killed in domestic violence-related homicides - an increase of 32 deaths on 2017 and an average of more than three murders a week.

Refuges and domestic violence services can offer the chance to escape, but these vital lifelines are being cut off. Even Theresa May's extremely limited and inadequate domestic violence bill has been stalled.

We need you to commit now to stand up for women's lives - to say women's lives matter. Please sign this pledge and give confidence to all those fighting for the services women need.

60% of those seeking a refuge are unable to be housed, most commonly due to lack of space. One in four domestic abuse refuges have lost all government money for therapeutic support.

State funding is at its lowest ever levels. The number of support groups available fell by a fifth in the year to May 2018.

We need action now! And councils have power.

We call on Labour councils to reject the Tory cuts that deny women these essential life-saving services and to refuse to make the cuts to this funding.

Women's Lives Matter calls on Labour councils to set budgets based on need, using their reserves and borrowing powers to fund them, and launch a fight for the billions stolen by Tory governments from the services women in domestic violence and abuse situations require.

A clear pledge from you would give confidence to those Labour councillors who really want to defend women.

Therefore we, the undersigned, call on you, the Labour leadership and deputy leadership candidates, to demand that Labour councils take a stand, refuse to make cuts and fight for the money the Tories have stolen from our councils.

This is urgent. Let's act now to defend women's lives.


Women's Lives Matter meeting: No choice but to fight cuts

Amy Cousens, Bradford Socialist Party

Boris Johnson may chuck some morsels our way in the next budget. But there should be no uncertainty - the next years under Tory rule will bring devastation and hardship for women.

On 18 January, Women's Lives Matter campaigners met nationally to discuss how our campaign should be put into action following the Conservative election victory.

The Tory-engineered benefits system saw a disabled woman die from cold in her own home in a coat and scarf because she couldn't afford to turn the heating on. Women simply cannot wait for Labour to act as the leadership candidates rapidly capitulate to the right.

This was the sentiment of the meeting. There is no room for Women's Lives Matter campaigners to do anything but lift our heads into the storm and ramp up our action. And the Socialist Party will join in.

Women's Lives Matter is holding a fortnight of action from 24 February, ending on International Women's Day. The focus of this fortnight is to take our campaign programme and put it to Labour councils through protest and lobbying.

Not a single further cut can be afforded by women. We demand Labour councils set budgets based on need in order to save women's lives.

In Leeds, we are calling on the council to create an emergency budget for those in debt because of Universal Credit, alongside no evictions and no prison sentences for those who cannot pay council tax.

These are concrete things councils have the power to do, alongside setting needs budgets. We put this to councils. We demand that they act to save women's lives, or face electoral challenge from working-class women in particular, who Labour councils continue to turn their backs on.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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