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From The Socialist newspaper, 2 June 2010

Will the councils fight the cuts?

Socialist Party member Nancy Taaffe, who was the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidate in last month's general election in Walthamstow, had this letter published in the local press after Labour won back control of Waltham Forest council.

ACROSS EAST London, including Waltham Forest, millions of workers voted Labour, believing this might protect them from the Tory-led public sector massacre now set to take place.

Throughout the election the Socialist Party campaigned on a 'no cuts' platform, explaining that these cuts were being demanded by unelected hedge fund managers and city wolf packs, with politicians repeating ad nauseam that ordinary people should pay for bank bailouts.

In reality Waltham Forest has experienced in-efficiency cut after in-efficiency cut. Failed privatisation experiments such as Ascham Homes and EduAction, abound. We have the dirty contract of Kier [a poorly paying waste and cleaning company which took over many services locally - Eds]. On top of this, the swansong of the previous Lib/Lab pact was to vote through 10 million of budget cuts.

The Socialist Party stands in the tradition of the fighting Liverpool city council, which stood up to Thatcher between 1984 and 1986; which built houses and schools and created jobs in the teeth of a vicious Tory government.

Militant, the forerunner of the Socialist Party, led the magnificent battle against the poll tax that saw 18 million people refuse to pay, defeated the tax and, ultimately, saw the back of Thatcher herself.

Council leader Chris Robbins said we face "exciting but difficult times". Well, this Labour council has a choice - will they slavishly do the bidding of the government, as they did under New Labour, or will they refuse to implement the cuts?

If they choose defiiance, like the socialists in Liverpool, they should set a budget based on real needs in the borough in terms of services, and build a campaign amongst council workers, college lecturers, teachers, school and college students etc, linking up with other boroughs to force the government to increase funding.

The Socialist Party is ready to be part of that campaign. Is the council?

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