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From The Socialist newspaper, 11 March 2020
Salford 'no-cuts' budget includes cuts and tax rises
photo Paul Mattsson (Click to enlarge)
Nick Chaffey, Socialist Party national committee
Salford council has cut £211 million from spending since 2010.
What can be done to protect jobs and services and reverse the decade-long era of austerity that has wreaked damage to working-class communities? There is growing pressure on Labour councils to respond to Tory funding cuts.
But setting this year's budget, Salford council leader Paul declared: "For the first time... I have presented a budget that will deliver no further cuts to the services our residents need."
The budget was welcomed by public sector union Unison in Salford. Care workers in Unison, working for the council, will see their pay rise to £9 an hour in October.
The Socialist Party welcomes any steps taken to protect jobs and services. But what Salford Labour has voted through, robs Peter to pay Paul.
By increasing council tax by almost 4% - for what claims to be at best a stand-still budget - working-class families are being asked to pay for Tory cuts.
Dennett recognises this: "Council Tax is a regressive form of taxation, which hits the poorest people in our communities the hardest... we must raise local rates to pay for the deficit caused by austerity budgets from national government."
The first rule for socialists is to tell the truth and propose a programme and strategy in the interests of the working class. Salford's budget far from being a no-cuts budget actually includes "£9.8 million savings".
This is a smokescreen that divides workers and undermines the possibility to fightback. Rather, Salford council should mobilise a fight to restore the stolen £211 million that unites workers.
Across the country, Labour councils control combined budgets of almost £80 billion. And hold over £14 billion in reserves.
The Socialist Party says setting no-cuts budgets is the means to mobilise a mass campaign of council workers, trade unions and local communities to demand the restoration of government funding.
On this basis in the 1980s the Militant (now Socialist Party) led Liverpool Council forced Thatcher to retreat and concede £60 million that funded a programme of building 5,000 council homes, leisure centres, nurseries and parks.
The Socialist Party says:
- No cuts
- No increases in council tax, service charges, council rent. No privatisation
- Use reserves and borrowing powers to set no-cuts, needs-based budgets
- Build a mass campaign of trade unionists, community activists and service users to demand the government restore the 60% funding stolen from councils since 2010
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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 11 March 2020:
Coronavirus: Full NHS funding now
Coronavirus infects the world economy
Flybe collapse: nationalise to save jobs threatened by Covid-19 and downturn
Coronavirus: international cooperation needed, not capitalist competition
Supermarkets are ruled by profit - unions should control supply limits
For full pay during isolation: for public health as well as workers' wallets
Self-isolation patients speak: NHS facilities and advice not up to it
Italy on lockdown: lack of resources and democracy causes panic
South Korea shows capitalism has money to respond to coronavirus
Coronavirus news in brief
Domestic Violence bill: We still need to fight to save our services
News in brief
Postal workers mobilise to win strike reballot
Homerton Hospital workers fight for sick pay
Fighting to transform the union in my warehouse
Argos workers in Sainsbury's stores threatened with losing collective bargaining
Homeless charity workers to strike against intransigent management
Southampton trade unionists say "defend the right to strike!"
Strong support for PCS Broad Left Network
East London uni and bin worker strikes
How can Trump be ousted from the White House?
Campaigns and party news
Salford 'no-cuts' budget includes cuts and tax rises
Stoke council unions beat pay cuts - now let's stop all cuts
Is there an anti-cuts rebellion in Scotland?
Socialist Party joins International Women's Day protests
Housing workers explain reality to idiot Boris Johnson
Swansea: Ask anyone about state of services, you will hear the real story
Camarthenshire: Councillors' 'walk of shame'
Student occupation in support of striking workers
Selling the Socialist
Socialist Party executive committee positions
Greece-Turkey border refugee crisis
Women's and trans rights
Women's rights, trans rights and the labour movement
Film: Greed directed by Michael Winterbottom
Childcare - costly, inadequate and hard work
Book: Why you should be a trade unionist by Unite general secretary Len McCluskey
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