Monday, 4 February 2013

Council budget setting season, time for councillors to stand up and fight

We are into February now and it is from now on councils up and down the country will be setting their budgets for the new financial year. Many will have already drawn up plans and many will include some huge huge cuts which will devastate our local services and jobs if we allow them to go through. These councils include labour run councils after they won control of many types of council last year. Labour now controls most of the bigger inner city councils including Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle, Liverpool and Sheffield. These cuts will be felt more here than elsewhere due to the poverty of these cities already. But instead of moaning about the cuts and appealing to the Tories to be kinder with their cuts how about mounting a serious fightback. So far we’ve seen 2 rebel councillors now expelled from the labour party in Southampton and now there may be some more after a statement was signed by councillors in Hull and Stoke to a group naming themselves councillors against the cuts. I support this and feel it is a progress from what we have seen in previous years. But at this point none have voted against cuts and as they say the proof will be in the pudding. We support as socialists all labour councillors standing up to vote against cuts. We may think their efforts to stay within the labour party to fight for socialism will be in vain but we will not oppose any who wish to vote against cuts. They must be aware this may probably end them up being disciplined and quite possibly expelling for their stance but a stance it is. It is quite possible we may see more Labour councillors voting against cuts as the cuts deepen year on year and some simply can’t stomach the eye watering cuts. But without a joined up strategy they will remain individuals and pockets of resistance across the country. TUSC will be there for any councillor wishing to stand under an anti cuts banner and if a councillor is expelled they will be quite welcome to re stand for TUSC if they so wish. This could be an expression of a split within labour where the formation of a new workers party could be found. But this month we must be to the front of all protests outside council chambers. If we are allowed in we must make our voices heard oppose all cuts and expose those councillors who refuse to stand up and fight all cuts. The money is there while using reserves to plug gap in funding a mass campaign must be built including trade unions, anti cuts groups and local community members to demand the funding back from central government. Councillors can no longer be sur charged and have no excuses now to not fight the cuts. I urge all councillors to find it within themselves however hard it may be, the cuts that the poorest in society will face will be far harder if we let these cuts go through. It’s time to make a stand, oppose all cuts; no cut is a fair cut. Join any protest in your area if you can against the cuts and add your name to the NSSN’s calls for a 24 hour general strike to bring this government down.

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