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Leicester: No-cuts budget only way forward
Tom Barker, Leicester Socialist Party
With just five days until polling day, Leicester Socialist Party hosted a public meeting to spell out our plan to fight all austerity cuts if elected to the city council.
The meeting was wide-ranging; covering topics from cuts to local services, addressing the mental health crisis in our schools, the NHS, and supporting the climate strike.
Sofia Wiking, city council candidate for Knighton ward, introduced the discussion followed by Steve Score, Leicester Socialist Party's mayoral candidate.
Since the 2007-08 capitalist financial crisis we have faced years of cuts and austerity.
In Leicester, the Labour mayor and councillors have passed these on by slashing our services. With the exception of social care, Leicester council services have been cut by more than half in the past ten years.
Steve said: "If we don't fight, we will have no services left at all. What the Socialist Party is proposing is to resist austerity - to set a 'no-cuts' budget. To use the money that does exists in the reserves: more than £100 million.
"However, the money would not last forever. The point about using the reserves is that it gives you time to go to people in Leicester whose services are threatened, to go to workers on the council whose jobs and terms and conditions are threatened, and say: 'If you back us in setting a no-cuts budget, we need you to be involved in a campaign to force the money from the government'."
Force for change
"I think we have proved by our record as the Socialist Party in campaigns like the successful save Glenfield children's heart centre - of which I was the chair - that if you mobilise people, if you get thousands of people on the streets, if you get people involved in action, then that is a powerful force for change.
"If we can do it over that, we can do it over council cuts - especially when we have a government that is on the ropes, as it is at the moment."
Steve explained that, whatever the result on 2 May, the important thing is to build a mass movement to end the Tories' rule and build the fightback for socialism.
- See 'Local government in crisis: Councillors can fight cuts' by Tom Baldwin
- Around 40 Socialist Party candidates are contesting this year's council elections in England on 2 May, under the electoral name of Socialist Alternative. For results see socialistparty.org.uk.
In The Socialist 1 May 2019:
Local elections 2019
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party reports and campaigns