Another year, another cuts budget...
...but the cuts MUST be opposed!
The Argus has reported that the overall cut to council services has rocketed from £14m to £25m! They estimate this will result in 250 job losses, significant cut to schools as well as bins, libraries and care for older people. The details and impact of the cuts will be revealed over the next few months and voted on in February next year, but their impact will be felt much sooner. Jason Kitcat, Head of the Green council, is quoted as saying,
“We're talking about the survival of Local Government”
Cuts to the grants are starving local government of funding and leaving councils with a growing funding gap. In an effort to fill the gap council workers and service users are being shoved in, while the government deepens and widens it year after year. There is no doubt the government is aiming to destroy local government, but Cllr Kitcat does not have a mandate to do their dirty work in Brighton. In fact the Greens were elected to oppose the cuts!
B&H Council: Fight the Cuts – Don't Make Them!
Since the Tories and Liberal Democrats came to power Brighton and Hove Socialist Party has been arguing for a fight-back against all the cuts to public services, including local government. We cannot fall into the trap of saving one job or service by cutting another, but in order to do that we have to oppose the overall funding reduction. In 2010 the Greens claimed they would fight the cuts, what have they done?
Ever since coming to power they have claimed nothing can be done. We might have expected that every avenue would be explored, including use of council reserves, that every tactic would be attempted to frustrate privatisation and to build campaigns against each and every cut, no matter how small. Most importantly we might have expected the Greens to encourage a city-wide campaign among the council workforce and local population to say to the government: Give Us Back Our Funding!
GMB are seeking assurances there will be no compulsory redundancies and it is UNISON policy to ballot for strike action if any are made. In addition a wider campaign is needed to oppose all (voluntary and compulsory) redundancies and cuts to services by recovering the funding stolen from the city. Pressure can be brought to bear on the council to adopt this position and campaign against the government imposed cuts. Any such campaign must refuse to make the cuts by passing a budget based on the NEEDS of the city, not the cuts dictated by the government.
Council workers and service users - along with workers and poor people across Britain – need a party worth voting for. We think there is a desperate need for a new party that is rooted in the struggles that are emerging across the country. At the moment we choose between apologists or cheerleaders of the cuts. Instead, we need a party that aims to build a movement through workplace and community organisation. We think that the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition is the beginning of such a party and we encourage you help us build it by standing at every election and raising the need for an alternative. See www.tusc.org.uk
What can you do?
1. If not already a member, join your workplace union, and encourage others to do the same
2. Get in touch as soon as you know how the cuts will affect you and your workplace – firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Encourage your union branch to join the call for a NO-CUTS council
4. Build pressure on the council to OPPOSE the cuts by building a movement to get the funding back
5. Help us produce a NEEDS budget