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The Green, in Seacroft, is amongst a number of council care homes faced with the threat of closure as a result of the council’s programme of cuts. The Green provides vital specialist support to sufferers of dementia.

Leeds Socialist Party members

After ignoring the recommendation of the Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Board to keep the Green open, an important step was made by five Labour councillors signing a call-in of the decision re-referring it back to the Scrutiny Board. Unfortunately, due to pressure of the Labour group leadership one of the councillors involved has since withdrawn his signature.

This is particularly unfortunate, as these five were not the only to have concerns, especially given the decision to allocate £4.5m of funds to Yorkshire County Cricket Club. Quite rightly councillors are asking why money is available to fund this, rather than keeping vital services like the Green, and indeed other council-run care homes, open.

This action has allowed the leader of the Tory Group on Leeds City Council to publish a letter (10/10/16) in the Yorkshire Evening Post (YEP), gloating about this development and claiming that himself and the Tories were the only defenders of care homes – a ludicrous position given it is the government of his party which is cutting local government funding.

Below we re-publish a letter printed in the YEP on Wednesday 12th October, regarding these developments. It was written before we knew about the withdrawal of one of the signatories to the call-in.

The YEP editors took the words ‘former TUSC [Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition] candidate for Killingbeck and Seacroft, May 2016’ from how Iain had originally signed the letter. In the aftermath of the attempts of Labour MP’s to unseat Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party, then many more Labour Party members have become active in their local branches which has given confidence to those Labour councillors to challenge this decision of the Labour group leadership.

These processes across the country have led to the Socialist Party proposing to the TUSC national steering committee to not make further prepaprations for the 2017 local and mayoral elections and seek discussions with the Labour Party leadership. Many Labour Party members wish to see it become a party that consistently challenges austerity and offers a real socialist alternative. The Socialist Party wants to play a full role in helping that possibility become a reality.

We must fight austerity

Iain Dalton, Leeds Socialist Party

I WOULD like to add my congratulations to those of Richard Burgon MP for the Labour councillors who have called in the decision of Leeds City Council’s Executive to close The Green care home in Seacroft (Political backlash over Leeds care home closure plans 5/10/16).

As a Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidate I have stood in elections to raise the need for the Labour-led Leeds City Council to challenge the Government’s austerity measures rather than implement them (albeit with a ‘heavy heart’).

If the council doesn’t do so, then unfortunately we will have many more cases of essential services like The Green being forced to close as more and more funding is cut from local government.

I offer my support to those councillors in their decision to challenge this closure which stems not only from the severity of cuts like this, but also the anti-austerity mood which has developed since Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour Party.

I believe many other socialists, trade unionists and other will welcome their stand and seek to support it.

A meeting with those councillors, trade union activists and others would be a welcome next step in mobilising this opposition to the closure of vital services such as The Green.

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