Whoever is in Number Ten…
We need councillors who will refuse to implement the cuts!
The May 2015 council elections are in many ways as important as the general election in deciding what will happen to the vital public services provided by local authorities.
With all the establishment parties – and UKIP too – committed to austerity, the best that will happen in the Westminster elections is that there will be a change of ‘management style’ at the top.
That’s why it is important to have local councillors who will refuse to vote for cuts in the council chamber. And why TUSC is appealing to trade union members, anti-cuts campaigners, young people – everyone in fact who opposes the austerity agenda – to themselves come forward as council candidates.
It is not true that councils have ‘no option’ but to pass on government cuts. If just a handful of councils used the powers they have to refuse to implement the cuts the Westminster politicians could be made to back down.
Individual councillors have a choice. The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition has a policy platform for local council elections (below) which could make a difference. Even one councillor taking a stand, if they used their position in the council chamber to appeal to those outside, could give confidence to trade unionists and community campaigners to fight.
All TUSC councillors will:
- Oppose all cuts to council jobs, services, pay and conditions. We reject the claim that ‘some cuts’ are necessary to our services or that the national debt is a reason for austerity.
- Refuse to implement the Bedroom Tax now. Councils should write off all bedroom tax-related arrears, withdraw all court proceedings and eviction orders where the bedroom tax has been a factor, and call on Housing Associations to do the same.
- Support all workers’ struggles against the cuts, privatisation and government policies making ordinary people pay for the crisis caused by the bankers and the bosses. Defend the national collective bargaining arrangements for council workers.
- Reject increases in council tax, rent and service charges to compensate for government cuts.
- Vote against the privatisation of council jobs and services, or the transfer of council services to ‘social enterprises’ or ‘arms-length’ management organisations, which are first steps to privatisation.
- Oppose racism and fascism and stand up for equality for all.
- Campaign for the introduction of a Living Wage above the minimum wage, including for council employees and those working for council contractors.
- Use all the legal powers available to councils to oppose both the cuts and government policies which centrally impose the transfer of public services to private bodies. This includes using councils’ powers to refer local NHS decisions, initiate referenda and organise public commissions and consultations in campaigns to defend public services.
- Vote for councils to refuse to implement the cuts. We will support councils which in the first instance use their reserves and prudential borrowing powers to avoid making cuts. But we argue that the best way to mobilise the mass campaign that is necessary to defeat the dismantling of council services is to set a budget that meets the needs of the local community and demands that government funding makes up the shortfall.
- Support action against climate change and for a future where sustainability comes before profit.