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Battle in Leeds council over care home closure
Leeds Socialist Party members
The Green, in Seacroft, is among a number of council care homes faced with the threat of closure as a result of Leeds City Council's programme of cuts. The Green provides vital specialist support to sufferers of dementia.
After ignoring the recommendation of the Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Board to keep the Green open, an important step was taken by five Labour councillors signing a 'call-in' of the decision, referring it back to the scrutiny board. Unfortunately, due to pressure of the Labour group leadership one of the councillors involved has since withdrawn his signature.
This has allowed the leader of the Tory group on Leeds City Council to publish a letter in the Yorkshire Evening Post claiming that he and the Tories are the only defenders of care homes - a ludicrous position given it is the government of his party which is cutting local government funding.
In the aftermath of the attempts of Labour MPs to unseat Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party, many more Labour Party members in Leeds have become active in their local branches. This has given confidence to these Labour councillors to challenge this decision of the Labour group leadership.
Many Labour Party members wish to see it become a party that consistently challenges austerity and offers a real socialist alternative. The Socialist Party wants to play a full role in helping that possibility become a reality.
Below is a letter by Leeds Socialist Party member Iain Dalton, published in the Yorkshire Evening Post (before we heard about the withdrawal of one of the councillor signatories).
"I would like to add my congratulations to those of Richard Burgon MP for the Labour councillors who have called in the decision of Leeds City Council's executive to close The Green care home in Seacroft.
As a Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidate I have stood in elections to raise the need for the Labour-led Leeds City Council to challenge the government's austerity measures rather than implement them.
If the council doesn't do so, then unfortunately we will have many more cases of essential services like The Green being forced to close as more and more funding is cut from local government.
I offer my support to those councillors in their decision to challenge this closure which stems not only from the severity of cuts like this, but also the anti-austerity mood which has developed since Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour Party.
I believe many socialists, trade unionists and others will welcome their stand and seek to support it.
A meeting with those councillors, trade union activists and others would be a welcome next step in mobilising this opposition to the closure of vital services such as The Green."
In The Socialist 26 October 2016:
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Socialist Party news and analysis
Corbyn & Labour
Jarrow March for Jobs 2011
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party comments and reviews