Alliance for Green Socialism, Ben Dixon, Ben Mayor, Dave Williams, Hands off our Homes, Iain Dalton, Kevin Pattison, Labour Party, Leeds Alliance for Green Socialism, Leeds City Council, Leeds City RMT, Mary Finch, Max Cussons, Michael Johnson, Neil Cussons, North & East Leeds Left Unity, Tanis Belsham-Wray, Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, West Yorkshire FBU
This May, eight Socialist Party members have been adopted as candidates of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) in Leeds and are currently gathering the final nominations to allow them to stand. Alongside a further TUSC candidate in Morley South and four Alliance for Green Socialism candidates in East & North East Leeds this will be the widest anti-austerity challenge in the council elections since the Con-Dems came to power in 2010.
Leeds Socialist Party member
Labour-led Leeds City Council are remorselessly carrying out the Con-Dem cuts. Having already passed over £150m worth of cuts over the past 3 years, they are to carry out a further £82m worth of cuts, £50m in the coming financial year. This has seen libraries, day centres, care homes closed across the city, with more front-line services to be hit alongside the pay, conditions and jobs of already overstretched council staff. Labour councillors on the fire authority have also passed savage cuts there. Over 300 firefighters jobs, 9 fire stations and almost 20 fire appliances have gone or are set to go.
On top of this the council has been ruthlessly implementing the bedroom tax, refusing to pledge to not evict anyone despite the limited number of one bedroom property that many of those affected were expected to move into. As a result many people have gone into arrears and have been put through the ordeal of eviction proceedings, with many tennants working with the Hands off our Homes campaign to try to resist and hold-up these proceedings. Whilst many have been able to finally gain access to Discretionary Housing Payments, this hasn’t stopped the council from disgracefully evicting some of those in arrears as a result of this rotten attack.
Instead of carrying out the dictats of the government’s austerity, TUSC says we should be fighting to defend services, building a mass campaign across the city to demanded the necessary funding off the government to do so. Its a message thats getting an increasing echo, with many of those who Socialist Party members have campaigned on the above issues offering support, donating to the election funds and endorsing us.
Two local trade union branches – Leeds City RMT and West Yorkshire FBU are backing all 9 TUSC candidates. Dave Willaims, the West Yorkshire FBU branch secretary, gave us the following endorsement for our candidate in Armley (unfortunately after our ward leaflet had been sent to print)
“I, and the Fire Brigades Union in West Yorkshire, are proud to fully support Iain Dalton in the forthcoming local councillor elections. He and his supporters fought tirelessly against the cuts to the fire service in 2011 and 2012. I believe without him highlighting the plight of the residents who’s local stations were going to be closed many more firestations would’ve been closed today and many more peoples lives’ would be at risk”
Anti-bedroom tax campaigners are helping with the campaign, as are individual trade unionist. The North & East Leeds branch of Left Unity has also backed all our candidates and are offering to help with canvassing and leafletting.
With our campaigns starting to get going we’re already meeting many people fed-up with parties that look after the interests of big business instead of ordinary people. Two sheets were filled in with names and contact details at the recent anti-bedroom tax demo in Leeds by those wanting to help with our campaigning. Over the next six weeks we’ll be leafletting, canvassing, marching, holding public meetings and protesting to show that there’s an alternative to austerity and the misery for working class people it brings. We encourage all our supporters to get involved in the campaign
Leeds Socialist Party members standing for TUSC are
Armley – Iain Dalton
Bramley & Stanningley – Kevin Pattison
City & Hunslet – Mary Finch
Farnley & Wortley – Michael Johnson
Horsforth – Ben Dixon
Hyde Park & Woodhouse – Tanis Belsham-Wray
Kirkstall – Ben Mayor
Weetwood – Max Cussons
Neil Cussons is also standing for TUSC in Morley South