“Labour councillors will be your community’s first line of defence against the damage being done by the Tory-led government and their Liberal Democrat allies. Labour is your voice in tough times,” claims the Labour Party’s website. But tell that to the residents of Manchester where the Labour council is making £279 million of brutal cuts in jobs and services over two years. In fact, every Labour-led council has voted through cuts (£91 million in Leeds), saying ‘we have no choice’ – so what sort of defence is that?
In Leeds, the Socialist Party is standing Ian Pattison in Headingley and Andrew Smith in Horsforth wards as Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts candidates (additionally the Alliance for Green Socialism are standing 5 candidates on an opposing all cuts basis). Nationally TUSC is standing in 55 local authorities, as well as in the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly elections, making over 180 candidates are standing on the no-cuts platform of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC). See www.tusc.org.uk for information on candidates.
All TUSC candidates have signed up to the following local election platform:
- Oppose all cuts to council jobs, services, pay and conditions – we reject the claim that ‘some cuts’ are necessary to our services.
- Reject above inflation increases in council tax, rent and service charges to compensate for government cuts.
- Vote against the privatisation of council services, or the transfer of council services to ‘social enterprises’ or ‘arms-length’ management organisations, which are first steps to privatisation.
- Use all the legal powers available to councils, including powers to refer local NHS decisions, initiate referenda and organise public commissions and consultations, to oppose both the cuts and government polices which centrally impose the transfer of public services to private bodies.
- When faced with government cuts to council funding, councils should refuse to implement the cuts. We will support councils which in the first instance use their reserves and prudential borrowing powers to avoid passing government cuts on – while arguing that the best way to mobilise the mass campaign that is necessary to defeat the cuts is to set a budget that meets the needs of the local community and demands that the government makes up the shortfall.