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Budget bloodbaths show TUSC needed
By 46 votes to two, with Labour, Lib Dem and Tory councillors all voting for cuts, the Southampton council budget meeting on 13 February showed only socialist councillors Keith Morrell and Don Thomas offer any alternative.
All hopes that the election of a Labour council would bring a respite to the cuts in Southampton have been dashed since their election in 2012.
Labour's promise to be "Your friend in tough times" has fallen to three Labour cuts budgets, destroying jobs and services and attacking the very trade unions whose strike action in 2011 bought the Labour council to power. Their only promise now is to deliver a further £30 million cuts next year!
Don Thomas berated the Labour group: "You are betraying the people who elected you. You say, 'We have no choice'.
We don't accept that. A bold stand against this government could force another u-turn. The money is there. We will vote against the cuts today and call on Labour councillors to do the same."
He was followed by Keith Morrell who outlined a clear alternative: "In 2013 we proposed a balanced legal budget to protect all jobs and services, which could buy time to mount a campaign to win back money stolen from the city.
We showed you what is possible. There is nowhere to hide, £30 million cuts next year will destroy frontline services and jobs. It is time to take a stand."
Keith and Don have continued to receive strong support for the position they have taken. TUSC candidates will stand with Keith in May in every seat up for election in the city to build support for such a campaign.
Cowards flinching and traitors sneering a plenty but not a single principled Labour councillor willing to vote against £26 million of Con-Dem cuts in the coming year and £45 million in the next three years.
That tells you everything worth knowing about the full-council budget meeting in Swansea on 18 February.
Labour councillors quickly scurried past our lobby, others shouted abuse at us, while some pretended that the council isn't making cuts.
Most tried to claim that cuts are Con-Dem cuts. But if Labour councillors vote for Con-Dem cuts then they become their cuts.
Unison is calling for Labour councils to raise the council tax by the maximum. Swansea's Labour councillors have done that, raising council tax by 5% and still making millions of pounds of cuts to our members' jobs and services.
In the last couple of weeks, in the face of a public outcry, the council has announced delays in some of the cuts.
However it's clear that all these measures are still on the agenda. This was spelt out when the Finance Officer announced if three residential care homes were not shut down the savings projected would have to be found from elsewhere.
The budget is peppered with variations on the phrase "alternative delivery model" ie outsourcing. Outsourcing invariably means less job security, poorer pay, harsher terms, worse working conditions for staff. This inevitably leads to poorer services for those that rely on them.
Swansea's Labour council is also making a liar of Wales' Labour First Minister, Carwyn Jones, who was applauded for pledging at the Wales TUC, last May, that "..there is no room for outsourcing of public services in Wales".
In 2012, people in Swansea elected a majority Labour council because they didn't want Con-Dem cuts. Less than two years later, they're getting Con-Dem cuts and outsourcing at the hands of the same Labour councillors.
A Unison member
- Bristol budget makes for chilling reading: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/18196/24-02-2014/bristol-budget-makes-for-chilling-reading
In The Socialist 26 February 2014:
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