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Councils pass on Tory pain
Peter Redfarn, Lewisham TUSC
Lewisham Labour mayor Steve Bullock's council policy is cuts, cuts and more cuts. There have already been £82 million of them, £17 million are planned after May's council election.
He wants at least another £85 million, stretching into 2018 whoever wins the general election.
In December Bullock and his cabinet decided further cuts and charge increases. Many cuts were aimed at children.
A lobby by the union Unite forced £300,000 of cuts in the School Attendance and Welfare (truancy) Service, plus the £200,000 previously agreed, to be "deferred" but not cancelled.
The mayor reduced the number of recycling rounds to eight from nine, eliminating four jobs. This decision was referred back but is likely to go ahead unless the unions put up a fight.
The rent for a single bed space will rise 25% to £150 a week, and to £190 a week for three bed spaces.
These are for homeless people at the top of the waiting list, and don't include gas, electricity and water.
Lewisham Homes talks about a property 'ladder', but for Lewisham people it is more like a snake.
The 2011 census shows 24.3% of Lewisham households rent privately, up from 14.3% in 2001. Meanwhile homeowners went down from 15.4% to 14.9%, mortgage payers from 33.1% to 27.5% and council tenants from 26.6% to 16.6%.
The mayor approved putting the out-of-hours emergency service out to tender, reckoning to save £100,000 a year.
But direct labour would do a better job cheaper. One company mentioned is Capita whose boss earns £900,000 a year, and which has a proven record of incompetence.
The boss of Mitie, which is refurbishing homes in Lewisham, is paid over £1 million a year.
There's no need to attack public services - taking all services back in-house would save millions of pounds, for example.
Fight the cuts!
In The Socialist 19 February 2014:
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