Wolverhampton City Council Threaten Further Cuts

November 8, 2020

After cuts of £235m already since 2010, Wolverhampton City Council are now threatening a further £23m reduction in services as part of next year’s budget.

Though the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic and the need for emergency funding for everything from homelessness to PPE has damaged the council’s balance sheet, this crisis has not come out of the blue. As we reported back in March, the council was already threatening cuts of this scale before Covid-19 entered the equation.

The Labour councillors who have presided over a decade of cuts claim that, unless they receive further emergency funding from central government on top of the £26.1m already provided earlier this year, they will have no choice but to implement further austerity.

But as The Socialist Party has said all along, councillors have a choice. A refusal to implement further cuts could be used to build support to win the funding needed not just to balance the budget but to provide the City with the public services it needs.

Just look at the support for the limited stand taken by Andy Burnham in Greater Manchester over funding for wages and small businesses in the event of further lockdown restrictions there.

Imagine if Labour councils took, and had taken from the start, an approach of setting budgets based on the needs of their communities, not just for Covid related support but public services in general which have been decimated under their watch in the last 10 years.

Campaigns could be built among workers, pensioners, parents, school students and other service users to demand the extra funding needed from central government. The approach taken by Liverpool City Council in the 1980s under the leadership of the Militant, forerunner of the Socialist Party provides a clear example of how this could be done.

If Labour councillors refuse to stand up and fight, then we will. The Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition is currently making preparations to stand next May against cuts making councillors, no matter what colour rosette they wear.