Andrew Fisher (Solidarity 255) rightly denounces the Tory plan to cut council tax benefits as a new “poll tax on individual students and unemployed people”.
Yet he concludes only that “we need to work with councils and councillors to lobby government” against the plan.
Speeches in Whitehall committees by Labour council leaders are not going to stop the plan, and in any case they have already been made.
Andrew dismisses, without even mentioning it, the option of Labour councils defying the plan. The defiance would obviously have to be part of a mobilisation to defy the cuts overall, rather than on this single issue, but that strengthens, not weakens, the case for it.
Otherwise Labour councils will be reduced, more and more each year, to local agents of the escalating Tory cuts.
Under the Tory government of 1970-4, defiance of its Housing Finance Act by a single small Labour council, Clay Cross, was central to defeating that Act.
Under Thatcher, even the threat of defiance by Liverpool’s Labour council — though eventually it went for rotten compromises and cuts — forced the Tories to make concessions.
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