I can remember saying during my stint as a TUSC candidate in the general election last year that no matter which of the 3 main pro-capitalist, pro-big business parties won the election, we would be paying for the bail out of the banking system with our jobs, services and living standards.
Fast-forward 12 months and we have the spectacle of a Labour council- a Labour council (!) passing on Tory cuts with only token resistance. It’s a scene that is being repeated across the country.
A week after Stoke council voted through £36m in cuts it came to light that the council had, in fact, over £60m stashed away in reserves. Instead of using some of this money to stop cuts in jobs and services they are using over £20m of it in redundancy pay outs to staff. It’s true that Community Voice and the BNP voted against the cuts, but where was their alternative budget?
So what would I do?
I will be fighting cuts and privatisation tooth and nail. But opposition in words is not enough, neither is simply voting against cuts. What I will do is propose alternatives to cuts and privatisation.
I would propose that we –
* Set a ‘needs budget’ that would take in to account what we NEED as a city, not just what we can afford from the measly government handouts.
* Use a combination of council reserves and prudential borrowing powers to stop, and even reverse the spending cuts inflicted on the city.
* Launch a massive campaign across the city to demand more money from the government, that links up with trade unions, community groups and communities.
I will also be demanding that the council –
* Embarks on a huge program of building council houses to relieve our massive social housing waiting lists and create jobs.
* Call in any decision by local NHS trusts to make redundancies as a result of ‘over spending’ or funding cuts.
* Bring as many of the privatised council services back ‘in house’ to stop our council tax lining the pockets of big business.
Say it can’t be done?
Take a look at the example of Liverpool city council in the 80’s. They launched a similar campaign against Thatcher’s government and won the equivalent of £60m back and built over 5000 houses, 5 leisure centres and created 2000 jobs in the process.
More information here-
I’ve been involved in many campaigns over the last 6 years or so. I’ve been fighting back against the low wages, privatisations, cuts and wars imposed on us by the last Labour government. I have also been supporting and building support for workers across the city who were taking strike action against these attacks. I’m also organiser for North Staffs Against Cuts which has been instrumental in building the anti-cuts movement in north Staffs. Whether I’m elected or not I will continue to fight in the interests of working class people across the city.