Around 60 people gathered for a Leeds TUC organised lobby of the City Council’s budget setting meeting. A lively element was added with a whole number of 3rd-year youth work students from Leeds Beckett University joining the demonstration and vocally chanting ‘no more cuts’ at the end of the protest.
This year’s budget sees an extra £50m in cuts on top of the around £200m passed by the council in recent years. This will result in the council having lost 2,000 staff as well as countless services including day centres and care homes. Council rents are due to go up by an inflation busting 5.9%.
A whole number of speakers addressed the protest including from Unison, UCU, Hands off our Homes, Green Party and Unite Community.
Labour councillor, Neil Walshaw, also addressed the protest. His speech talked of ‘difficult decisions’ the council was having to make due to the policies of the Tory-Lib Dem coalition government.
Iain Dalton and Liz Kitching replied to these arguments when they addressed the protest on behalf of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC). As TUSC has pointed, a mass campaign, alongside the trade unions needs to be built to demand the funding necessary to provide the jobs and services our city needs. Otherwise councillors end up becoming little ‘axe-men’ for the governments agenda.