Anti-cuts, public services

Questions and answers on the cuts

Q. The Lib/Tory coalition says that the government just has to make social cuts, in the same way as anyone who has "maxed out" their credit cards needs to cut back. Is that true? A. No. In the first place, there is nothing impossible about the government continuing with a large budget deficit for a while. Governments can't "run out of money" in the same way that households or businesses can. In the last analysis the question "where can the government get the money from?" can be answered simply: from the Bank of England printworks. There are limits on printing more cash, but the government is...

Fire service bosses scrap pandemic working agreement - firefighters need solidarity

Utterly disgracefully, fire and rescue service employers have unilaterally terminated an agreement with the FBU that allowed firefighters to safely assist our communities during the pandemic. It’s not just a matter of keeping our normal service running, so we can deal with fires, floods and other hazards safely. The agreement they are trying to torpedo is what has enabled us to perform additional tasks more directly related to Covid-19. Virtually since the start of the pandemic firefighters have volunteered to drive ambulances and assist paramedics, help with patient transfer, deliver packages...

Boost Universal Credit, don't cut it!

The media reports that the Tories are preparing to cut Universal Credit by rescinding the £20 a week (£1040 a year) increase to the standard rate conceded last year. They are trying to cover up this assault and minimise outrage by giving all current claimants a one-off payment of £500. Chancellor Rishi Sunak held a meeting with Boris Johnson and Work and Pensions Secretary Thérèse Coffey to discuss how to avoid making the increase to UC permanent. There is an immediate issue that a one-off payment will not help future claimants, including the large numbers likely to lose their jobs after the...

An Open Letter to my fellow Labour councillors

Dear colleagues, The past decade in local government has been defined largely by one thing: cuts. And if this government has their way, this will be the story for the next decade too. Rishi Sunak has heaped yet more misery on councils. His budget provided £5bn less than the Tory leadership of the Local Government Association said is necessary just to “stay afloat”. Following the disastrous impact of the pandemic on councils’ finances, we are facing a new wave of cuts. Although the impact may not have kicked in across the country yet, cases like Luton (where £22m of emergency cuts were...

"We need local and national fightback against cuts"

Rosie Newbigging was Labour’s parliamentary candidate in Welwyn Hatfield in 2019. She is a Unite the Union shop steward at Bedford borough council, and sits on Unite’s London and Eastern Regional Industrial Sector Committee for local government and its National Industrial Sector Committee for local government. She spoke to us about the potential for fightback in local government. Since 2010, with the start of Tory-Lib Dem coalition, we’ve had £100m worth of cuts in Bedford. For the 2021-22 financial year, there are over £21m further cuts planned. A few of us had a conversation, people in the...

"Labour councils should be fighting the government for more money"

Croydon council, in South London, has issued a Section 114 notice. This means the council will now only provide a bare legal minimum of services, ie make even more drastic cuts. A local union activist spoke to Josh Lovell and Sacha Ismail about the possibilities of a fightback in the borough. Like other local authorities, Croydon is the victim of ten years of cuts. It has lost 76% of its central government funding. The Labour administration has also invested in some dubious ventures, a number of which have not worked out – but the fundamental frame is these dramatic cuts to its funding. Covid...

Video: Fighting council cuts

Video and audio introductions from a meeting on the history and lessons of fighting council cuts, with Josh Lovell, Labour Party councilor. Sweeping cuts are now taking place and are expected in local authorities across the UK, but neither Labour nor the left are prepared for this. If Labour does not take up the fight it will have much less chance of winning back working-class voters, and importantly, saving the jobs and services we all rely on. Josh Lovell, a Labour Party councillor (in opposition) discusses the history of past battles in local government going back to the 1970s, and how we can apply lessons learned from those struggles today. From a meeting of the same name, on 4 October.

Fight the cuts, fight the pay freeze!

Chancellor Rishi Sunak claims he is not “returning” to austerity. This while: • All public sector workers outside the NHS get a pay freeze. And the government will not confirm that NHS workers will get a pay rise! It also seems it will cancel the planned 49p rise in the minimum wage in favour of something more like 19p. • Councils are saying they need billions more just to avoid yet another round of even deeper cuts. • The government refuses even to make its measly £20-a-week increase to Universal Credit permanent; it will be withdrawn in April. Meanwhile the Tories have announced they will...

To curb the virus, reverse the cuts

The UK’s virus infections are now rising faster than France’s and Spain’s, and are at a higher level (relative to population) than Spain’s. The government’s measures, since infections started rising fast again in early August, have had little effect. The Tories are set to close bars and cafés again, in large areas at least, and maybe soon for a new lockdown similar to spring’s. In Ireland, which has a lower rate of infection increase than the UK, the government’s scientific advisers have already proposed a new general lockdown, not yet implemented. Lockdowns (with suitable arrangements for...

Video: Rail workers discuss fighting job cuts

RMT activists Janine Booth and John Pencott offer their views on fighting the wave of job cuts that face the rail industry. These were the opening remarks at an online meeting held on 16 July 2020, hosted by Tubeworker and Off The Rails, bulletins written by and for Tube and rail workers respectively and published by Workers' Liberty. Audio and video.

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