Standing Against Council Cuts
March 9, 2020
On Wednesday 11th the government will announce its first budget since the general election in December last year. It has been widely speculated that this will see Boris Johnson’s government announce an “end to austerity”.
However, there appears that there will be no let up for public services delivered by local authorities such as youth services, bin collections, social care and roads, which in Wolverhampton have been cut by £235m since 2010. The Local Government Association expects Wolverhampton City Council to lose a further £7.4m from its annual budget under a new “fair funding review”. Before this has even been confirmed, the current Labour administration in Wolverhampton are preparing further cuts of £20m by 2023-24.
Against this backdrop, we’ll be launching our 2020 local election campaign on a platform of opposing further cuts to vital services in our city. While the Labour leadership on the city council has repeatedly passed on budget cuts demanded of them by central government over the last decade, local socialists will use the period leading up to this May’s local elections to put forward an alternative strategy of setting a no cuts budget for the next financial year. This will be linked to a call on sitting councillors who wish to oppose cuts to services in deeds as well as words to organise a campaign bringing together the city’s communities to demand a restoration of funding cut by central government.
Local campaigner Joshua Allerton, who will seek nominations to stand under the Socialist Alternative banner in Oxley ward, commented: “We need councillors who will fight the cuts, not do the Tories’ dirty work. It’s time to reverse the closure of all but one of the city’s youth centres, to help combat the rise of knife crime. It’s time to build genuinely affordable council housing on the scale that’s needed to tackle the homelessness crisis, rather than letting landlords and property developers milk us dry.”
Talking about cuts to services, council leader Ian Brookfield said “What we really need is our funding to be restored to the levels we enjoyed ten years ago”. We agree, but getting the money that’s been taken from Wolverhampton’s budget by the Tories will need more than just words!
If Labour councils up and down the country refused to implement cuts to services and used their reserves to set a “needs” budget while building a campaign to win the funding back, Boris Johnson’s government wouldn’t stand a chance.
But as long as these Blairite councillors continue to cut services, we’ll be opposing them at every opportunity, including the ballot box! But as well as putting forward a strategy to defeat the cuts currently facing Wolverhampton, we’ll be putting forward what socialist change in society would look like:
- Enough of austerity – stop the cuts
- Build new homes at affordable rents for local people – not luxury city centre housing for the benefit of property speculators
- For a £12/hr minimum wage now
- Scrap zero hour contracts
- Kick privatisation and PFI out of the NHS
- Take West Midlands Trains back into public ownership
- Take the wealth off the 1% to build a socialist society in the interests of the 99%
Get in touch for more details on how you can help the campaign.