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From The Socialist newspaper, 10 February 2010

Saving jobs and services in Worcestershire

LAST YEAR Worcestershire county council announced 45 million cuts over five years with talk of job losses in all areas, including teachers. They also threaten that major 'outsourcing' - read privatisation - of services, could reach the point where services are no longer permanently provided by the council but "commissioned" by users when necessary.

Sean McCauley, Worcester Socialist Party

The council will employ consultants at a cost of 1.7 million to decide where cuts will be made. Trish Haines, the county council's 170,000 a year Chief Executive and George Lord, the 43,000 a year Tory council leader, should know that people will still hold them directly responsible for attacks on jobs and services.

Worcestershire's NHS faces the prospect of a 60 million funding gap by 2013/14. NHS Trust Chief Executive Paul Bates makes no bones about the need to cut even frontline jobs and services. Job losses have already started; temporary staff have been laid off and 100 managers sacked.

In the Defend Jobs and Services Worcester campaign, we opposed the redundancies, and have two simple solutions. The public sector is burdened with the Private Finance Initiative (PFI). For example, Catalyst, the PFI company that built Worcester Royal hospital at a cost of 82 million will be paid 720 million by taxpayers.

Bringing all NHS and local authority PFI buildings and schemes back into the public sector would save billions. One year's repayment to Catalyst is 24 million. Let Catalyst take a cut in profits before we take a cut in services. In addition, the local Acute Hospitals Trust which runs Worcester Royal took out a 25 million government loan and is still saddled with that debt. Couldn't Alistair Darling cancel the loan like he did on the toxic assets of RBS bank?

But the first attacks will come in the county's district, borough and city councils. Worcester city council reckons that by 2014/15 it will have made 4.5 million worth of cuts. But we believe this underestimates the scale of funding cuts that will be implemented by whoever wins the next election. Wychavon and Malvern Hills councils anticipate cuts of about 10%.

New Labour's response to the city council's 'emergency' 3.1 million cuts last year was to bemoan the Tory administration's incompetence in not making cuts earlier. Now New Labour says the city council should increase council tax further.

Worcester's working class people should not have to pay for this funding crisis through service cuts, further job losses or by council tax rising faster than inflation. A million young people are unemployed in Britain. With places like DHL, Bulmers and Joy Mining sacking workers, we can't afford more job cuts. In a recession we need better public services not services cut to the bone.

None of the main political parties are voicing our opposition to these cuts. It's high time working people had a political force of their own. We are calling for trade unions to take up the fight to force our councillors to agree a 'deficit budget' that meets the city's needs, and demand that the government meets the deficit. We need to build a campaign to mobilise working people against cuts and redundancies.

These cuts do not have to happen! Join our campaign and our Facebook group Defend Jobs and Services Worcester.

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In The Socialist 10 February 2010:

Fight university cuts

Unison general secretary election

Fighting leadership needed in Unison - Nominate Roger Bannister for general secretary

Greenwich Unison backs victimised branch secretary

Socialist Party news and analysis

Preying on the living and dead

Waltham Forest: Campaigners score a victory

Fiddling MPs: Jail the whole lot of them!

Vulnerable lose out on benefits

Socialist Women: Fighting for equality through socialism

Fast news

Socialist Party workplace news

Civil service strike ballot: Vote 'yes' for action

Boycotting the 2010 SATS in schools

Coventry youth workers' strike

Metaldyne workers strike

Stoke: Axiom workers in overtime ban

Saving jobs and services in Worcestershire

Workplace news in brief

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Hazel Blears must go

TUSC: Wellingborough socialists make a stand

PCS young members

PCS young members network conference

Bristol job centre workers fight transfer

Socialist Party feature

Trade unions in Britain - are they ready for the coming battles?

International socialist news and analysis

Northern Ireland: An agreement to cement division

Sri Lanka President Rajapakse removes his rival, Fonseka

Tamil Solidarity -: Successful northern conference

Unison witchhunt

Trotskyism on trial

War and occupation

Armed forces: Release Lance-Corporal Joe Glenton

Trade union rights for service personnel


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