Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 30 November 2011

Brighton Greens fail to fight the cuts

Paul Moorhouse, Brighton and Hove Socialist Party

Brighton local government elections in May 2011 resulted in 23 Green councillors, 18 Tories and 13 Labour, giving the Greens, elected on an 'anti-cuts' election campaign, control over the council cabinet.

Some left groups argued that the Greens should be supported 'until they start to make cuts'. The Socialist Party consistently argued that, due to their lack of a clear strategy to defy the government's austerity agenda, the Greens would inevitably slash jobs and services.

In 2006, Brighton Green councillors supported privatisation through transferring council housing management to a private company. Yet a Defend Council Housing campaign saw these Labour-led plans overturned and the council housing stock remained under public control.

At the 3 March budget meeting, the Greens and Labour proposed a joint amendment to the then Tory council's budget. The amendments reduced cuts by only 3 million, leaving 25 million of cuts intact.

The Brighton Stop the Cuts Coalition (BSTCC) produced an 'anti-cuts pledge' for 2011 council election candidates to sign. Most Greens argued they would not oppose all cuts, but would be compassionate and effective in protecting the vulnerable.

The Greens say that councillors have no choice over reduced budgets. The Socialist Party have countered this by pointing to the 1983-87 Liverpool city council, where 47 Labour councillors built a mass movement to back up the council in setting a budget to reflect local needs instead of the Thatcher government's dictates.

'Not possible'

The Greens argued that a similar movement could not be built today in Brighton or anywhere else in the country. This underestimates the strength of feeling against the cuts.

Since early 2010 Brighton has seen an ever growing wave of protests, including 2,000 marching against cuts in October 2010, 3,000 students demonstrating during November 2010 and 4,000 striking workers marching on 30 June 2011.

The council's financial strategy leading up to 2015 shows a fall in central government funding by approximately one third or 43 million. All council departments have been asked to draw up scenarios of 5-15% cuts.

The Greens propose raising council tax by 3.5% to "protect as far as possible services for the most vulnerable" while still making cuts.

While the plan confirms the Green's commitment to a supposedly 'living wage' for council workers of 7.19, this is with a planned 0.5% pay increase in 2012/13 when 'general inflation' is anticipated to be 2%.

The Green plan also assumes a 10% cut in council tax benefit expenditure from April 2013.

Budget calculator

Public consultation has been on the theme of 'balance your own budget'. The assumption underlying the 'balanced budget calculator' is that a 'standstill' budget - protecting existing services - would be 6% 'over budget' and lead to a 17.1% council tax rise.

Against this background we are being asked to 'prioritise' services. Drawing up a budget which modestly increases all expenditure by 5%, results in a 32.2% increase in council tax.

Cutting ALL services by 5% would still mean a 2% council tax increase, it would be necessary to cut all children's services by a further 5% to balance the budget!

This approach could cause division between public and private sector workers, the unemployed and employed, and between different council sectors and service users. How is this different from the tactics of the mainstream parties?

In answer to a Socialist Party member's question at one consultation meeting, an officer agreed that councillors would not face fines, imprisonment or bans from office for setting a 'needs budget'. At worst, they might be 'suspended' from office after investigation.

She argued, however, that there was a risk that local government minister Eric Pickles could 'impose' the cuts. Most participants seemed to agree that councillors should have been present to answer that question, and not hide behind officers.

Green crumble

Without a far-sighted strategy rooted in the organised strength of the working class, the Greens are crumbling in the face of government attacks.

Some Green Party members have been up in arms about the council strategy. A handful of Green Left members fought for a 'needs budget' strategy within Brighton Green Party.

Two Green Left members were local election candidates and signed the BSTCC pledge. One was elected, but quickly retreated from the pledge. The other resigned from the Green Party to support the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC).

TUSC, which involves the Socialist Party, trade unionists and other left groups, opposes all cuts. The money is there. As the PCS union has shown, the very rich avoid paying 120 billion in tax every year.

TUSC demands progressive tax on rich corporations and individuals, with a crackdown on tax avoidance. This would have to be alongside bringing the banks, finance institutions and other major companies that dominate the economy, into genuine public ownership under democratic control.

The movement against the cuts is growing and could unite behind a council refusing to make any cuts, but the Greens refuse to give that lead.

See for a longer version of this article

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation


Your message: 


In The Socialist 30 November 2011:

Socialist Party news and analysis

30 November shows... We can win!

Con-Dems' autumn statement: 'pain now, pain tomorrow and more pain for longer'

Fight this bosses' charter!

Who cares about home care?

The Tory solution to pensioner poverty?

Them & Us

International socialist news and analysis

Eurozone: Into the abyss?

Egypt: Millions cast their votes in the first post-Mubarak elections

Kazakhstan: Demand Georgii Epshtein's release!

Socialist Party feature

Jarrow March for Jobs 2011

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Brighton Greens fail to fight the cuts

A message from Tommy Sheridan

'Not guilty' - support for Cardiff activists

Stoke Socialist Party's public meeting success

Leeds Against Cuts: defiant mood to fight 'daylight robbery'

Showing racism the red card

London trade unionists support electoral opposition to cuts

Socialist Party workplace news

Construction workers defend the JIB

Electricians occupy building company HQ

Usdaw: Fighting against the policies of 'social partnership'

Workplace inbrief

The Socialist, reviews & comments

When bankers were good?

Why I joined the Socialist Party


Home   |   The Socialist 30 November 2011   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleLabour councils miss opportunity to stop Tory cuts

triangleNational Shop Stewards Network TUC rally

triangleBrighton Socialist Party: After the election, what next?

triangleBrighton anti-academy campaign steps up

triangleBrighton Socialist Party: Tories out now!


triangleStrong union response needed against job cuts

triangleSafe protests against Tory corona chaos continue

triangleJohnson's plan terrifies me - readers react to lifting lockdown

triangleSafe social-distancing car-cavalcade protests


triangleCrisis in council services: Labour must fight or stand aside

triangleHomes needed to end overcrowding

triangleWaltham Forest trade unions discuss the fight for PPE and workplace safety


triangleNewham campaign set up against council cuts and tax hikes

triangleCapitalist crisis and Corona: Johnson's budget for the bosses


triangleThem & Us

Green Party:

triangleGreen Party offers no alternative for young people and climate change chaos

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Mick Cotter 21-9-57 to 20-5-20


Rolls Royce

Strong union response needed against job cuts



Organising to fight for workplace safety



Postal workers' action results in double victory for union



Posties walk out in Peterborough after manager tests positive



Johnson claims workplaces safe but HSE cancels inspections



Safe protests against Tory corona chaos continue



Trades council debates workers' political representation



Communities condemn Tory handling of crisis - with safe protests



Contract tracer speaks out: Tories' plan is outsourced chaos



Parents - Organise against 'back to school' plans that threaten everyone's safety


West Midlands

West Midlands trade union activists discuss the battle for safety on the front line



Transport union RMT tells members: refuse to work in unsafe conditions


Boris Johnson

Johnson's plan terrifies me - readers react to lifting lockdown



Starmer in full retreat over C-19 rents crisis

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 07748 534 891

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041



Alphabetical listing

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020