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From The Socialist newspaper, 20 October 2021

Fight to defend homelessness services

Workers on strike at One Housing in 2013. Photo: Helen Pattison

Workers on strike at One Housing in 2013. Photo: Helen Pattison   (Click to enlarge)

Paul Kershaw, Chair, Unite housing workers LE1111 branch

Councils in England have warned that the cost of homelessness services will increase by 27.2% in the next three years. The Conservative-led Local Government Association (LGA) says there are "extra cost pressures of almost £8 billion".

The LGA statement is aimed at extracting more money from the government in the upcoming spending review. They calculate that without an increase from central government, council tax would need to rise by a quarter simply to cover increased costs. They warn that vital services, such as care for older and disabled people, child protection, homelessness prevention, waste and recycling, and road maintenance are threatened.

But speeches at the Tory conference confirm that the government has an avalanche of post-Covid austerity in the pipeline. We need to prepare to defend homelessness services. We urgently need to fight for the funding needed and a pay rise for local government workers, and those who work in local government-funded services.

Homelessness services are hugely overstretched now, before the full impact of ending the eviction ban, ending furlough, and cutting Universal Credit is felt. Local government workers and staff in local government-funded services have faced a downward pressure on pay and conditions.

Industrial fightback

Workers across the homelessness sector are coming together to fight for change. We are committed to building a fightback in the workplace with the possibility of industrial action. But we also demand that councillors must take a stand and fight austerity.

As Unite general secretary Sharon Graham wrote on LocalGov.co.uk in June, prior to her election: "It is not enough for councillors to shrug their shoulders and pass the buck... It is perfectly possible for them to use their reserves and borrowing powers to plug gaps, while at the same time campaigning for adequate central government funding to safeguard council services."

Sharon has committed to asking the Unite executive council "to support candidates who oppose cuts to Unite members' jobs and services, and councils and councillors who fight against them". Where existing Labour councillors have a record of attacking members' jobs and pay, Unite should be prepared to support anti-austerity candidates independently of Labour, to fight for workers' interests.

A local council prepared to set a budget to meet the needs of workers could:

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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 Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • We must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 20 October 2021:


News

Fight for a socialist recovery

Tories to blame for GP crisis

Container delay carnage makes the case for socialist planning

Socialist nationalisation not bailouts for the bosses


Workplace news

Unite union policy conference

University workers ballot for strike action

Unite and fight for 30,000 permanent DWP jobs

Gwent valleys Stagecoach bus drivers strike for fair pay

Reinstate Gary Evans! Llanelli postal workers strike

Napo AGM 2021: Union placed on war footing

Scunthorpe scaffs strike for pay


People's budgets

People's Budgets - a socialist answer to cruel cuts

Brighton bin workers' victory in sight

Fight to defend homelessness services

Ealing People's Budget - cuts can be resisted

Northampton People's Budget - cuts and privatisation is a failed strategy

Fighting the cuts at the ballot box in Liverpool


Fall of apartheid

The fall of Apartheid in South Africa


Climate change

COP26: Trade unions must fight for a socialist transition to renewables

Save the planet from capitalist climate catastrophe


International

Austria: Chancellor Kurz resigns amid allegations of corruption


Obituary

Obituary - Tony Davison: "I work for Militant, but Laing's pay my wages"


Campaigns

"Are you the socialist cabby?"

Housing crisis: Tories and Labour are not on our side

Liverpool arms fair: Hundreds of protesters defy police 'dispersal zone'

Hackney children's centres - more education cuts are devastating

Biggest protest yet to save Stratford Circus

Doncaster: Vigil condemns violence against women


Readers' opinion

I'm unemployed: For me vacancy crisis is a lie

TV review: Squid Game


 

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Related links:

Homelessness:

triangleHomelessness workers fight for better pay and conditions across sector

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: Flooding, homelessness, cuts... Walthamstow needs a re-set - what's the socialist plan?

trianglePandemic homeless

triangleTories reduce winter homeless funding: reverse the cuts,use the empty homes!

triangleEviction ban extension not enough: make it longer, forgive the arrears!

Council:

triangleEviction resistance on the march in Waltham Forest

triangleHundreds protest to save St Mary's Leisure Centre in Southampton

triangleTrade unions and the fight against council cuts

triangleStrike action by Carmarthenshire winter gritters wins concessions from council

Government:

triangleBritain's waterways choked with a 'chemical cocktail'

triangleEducation: Workload and inflation goes up, incomes fall

triangle10,000 tube workers vote to strike - don't make workers pay for TfL funding crisis

Workers:

triangleSomers 'slaughterhouse' Forge

triangleTrade unionists in the USA fighting back

Unite:

triangleBus driver Tracey Scholes reinstated at Go North West

Local government:

triangleLocal government elections

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