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From The Socialist newspaper, 17 February 2010

Defend jobs and services

Fight council cuts!

Don't get between me and my profits - Alan Hardman cartoon

Don't get between me and my profits - Alan Hardman cartoon   (Click to enlarge)

"THE SCALE of cuts is likely to be of a magnitude that no one has seen. My life in local government goes back to 1979 and there has never been anything as bad." These are not the words of a council worker fearing for their job but of Stephen Hughes, Birmingham city council's chief executive. He plans to carry out the devastating cuts.

Birmingham Socialist Party members

The Tory-LibDem council intends to slash spending by 75 million and destroy up to 2,000 jobs in a cuts package so severe that Thatcher's spending cuts in the 1980s could seem tame by comparison. Among the services facing the axe are all 23 council-run nurseries, plus libraries, neighbourhood offices, youth clubs, day centres and care homes for the elderly.

The council has seen a drop in revenue income from some services but, at the same time, the recession has brought a sharp increase in demand for its social services.

Its finances are being squeezed by the government as the treasury tries to rein in public spending. Now, to plug the 69 million hole in the city's finances, they intend to make council workers pay with their jobs.

These brutal attacks must be met by a ferocious, united response by the council workers' trade unions together with socialists, young people, the elderly and all those affected by the cuts. The government should be forced to pay out to maintain and improve public services and to save jobs.

However, to solve the economy's problems, all three mainstream parties prescribe massive attacks on public services. So if we want to defend our jobs and services, we must fight the bosses politically as well as industrially.

The Socialist Party is fighting for a new mass workers' party, that can offer workers in Birmingham and everywhere an alternative to cuts, closures and redundancies.

In the meantime, the Socialist Party is standing candidates in a number of seats nationally in the coming general election, alongside other trade unionists and socialists.

The party will put forward a fighting programme, a central slogan of which will be: we won't pay for their crisis!

Stop the cuts Protest!

Tuesday 23 February, 4pm to 6pm. Outside Birmingham Council House, Victoria Square, Birmingham.
Protest organised by Birmingham council trade unions, outside the council's budget setting meeting.

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In The Socialist 17 February 2010:

Fight council cuts!


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