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From The Socialist newspaper, 16 January 2019

Caerphilly council cuts: right-wing Islwyn Labour councillors fight to impose austerity

Hundreds march through Blackwood High Street against the closure of local leisure centres, photo Dave Reid, photo Dave Reid

Hundreds march through Blackwood High Street against the closure of local leisure centres, photo Dave Reid, photo Dave Reid   (Click to enlarge)

Socialist Party Wales

A battle is raging inside and outside the Labour Party in Caerphilly County Borough (mainly covering Islwyn and Caerphilly constituencies) against the cuts that the Labour-run council is inflicting on public services in the borough.

In particular, there has been outrage that the meals on wheels service is being effectively abolished, while another quarter of a million pounds is being spent on the ex-chief executive.

Islwyn Constituency Labour Party (CLP) has called on the council to set a no-cuts budget, drawing on reserves and fighting the Tory government for funding. Even the deputy leader has condemned the Welsh Labour government for underfunding the council.

But the right-wing councillors are fighting back and digging their heels in to insist on carrying out these cuts. A member of Islwyn CLP reports:

"When the resolution of a no-cuts budget was unanimously passed at the November Islwyn Constituency Labour Party meeting, there was hope that Labour-run councils across the UK would now stand up and fight against the austerity policy of this Tory government and force them into a position where they would have to provide the appropriate level of funding to local government.

"At the January Islwyn CLP all-members meeting, controversial Caerphilly council leader David Poole categorically ruled this out as an option and stated, when asked if he would request that officers assemble a no-cuts budget, that his answer was a resounding 'no!'"

"Other councillors, who had refused to attend the November all-members meeting where the motion on the budget was moved, turned up - this time en masse - with one Abercarn councillor shouting 'it's illegal, do you want us sending taxis around giving out redundancy notices!'

"But isn't this exactly what is happening anyway, with various services being cut? Surely the only option left is to adopt a no-cuts budget which we can confirm is not illegal. It has been proposed throughout the country by various unions who are standing up for the workers they represent. When will the councillors of Caerphilly county stand up for the people they represent?"

Corbyn-supporting Labour Party members in Islwyn are demanding that the councillors support and implement the CLP's call for a no-cuts budget or stand aside at the next election. These members are prepared to deselect councillors that are flouting CLP policy and trying to force through the cuts.

And it may be necessary for anti-cuts candidates to stand against existing councillors if they are not deselected as Labour candidates. The threat of deselection or council election defeat may yet force councillors to step back from further cuts.

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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.

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In The Socialist 16 January 2019:

What we think

May facing Brexit vote catastrophe

Socialist Party news and analysis

After Grenfell, thousands still in high-rise firetrap blocks

Universal Credit: robbing the working class

30% of English secondaries in deficit

Them & Us

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

'Tories out' demo

A key task - strengthen Tamil Solidarity campaign

Council cuts

Glasgow: huge turnout to fight closure of Whitehill pool

Surrey: save our children's centres

Caerphilly: right-wing Islwyn Labour councillors fight to impose cuts

Nothing to declare? Dodgy councillors hide vested interests

North Tyneside: march to save our footbridge

Socialist history

The 1979 'Winter of Discontent'

International socialist news and analysis

USA: federal workers without pay - but immediate mass action can end shutdown

India: biggest general strike ever

France: union-led action and assemblies can defeat Macron

Mexico: police silence on horrific attack on CWI member

Workplace news and analysis

Unions must fight and demand nationalisation to save thousands of car industry jobs

Hundreds join Manc RMT picket line in solidarity after far-right attack

UCU: Vote Yes and Yes in the higher education pay and equality ballot

Re-elect Chris Baugh for AGS


Sorry to Bother You: "Socialist film Botox that made me feel young again"

Brexit: The Uncivil War - an interesting but inaccurate portrayal of EU referendum

The Socialist Inbox


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