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...

After 6 May, renew fight against Tories and cuts

Thursday 6 May sees elections for 143 councils covering the majority of England; the Scottish and Welsh parliaments; the London mayor and assembly; a number of other mayoral and police and crime commissioner positions; and the parliamentary by-election in Hartlepool. The local elections are for seats last contested in May 2016 (when Labour did poorly) or in May 2017 (when Labour did very poorly, though it recovered quickly between then and the June 2017 general election). So it shouldn’t be hard for Labour to show some gains. Yet Labour’s campaigns have been deeply uninspiring. A focus on NHS...

Using the local elections to fight for workers' rights

Edd Mustill (pictured right) is an NHS worker and GMB trade union activist who is standing for Labour in the Graves Park ward of Sheffield city council. He spoke to us about his campaign. My ward – which I also live in – has a long history of Lib Dem councillors so I’m unlikely to win. I’m standing to get a decent vote, but also to raise issues, build our Labour Party branch and get more people active as campaigners. I was selected a year and a half ago, and I planned to run a campaign based on extensive voter contact, with lots of door-knocking and discussions. Obviously, events intervened...

Salford Unison pushes care workers' charter

Salford’s local government Unison branch was the first to win the right to full isolation pay for all care workers in their council area, a victory that triggered others in the North West. Now they have put a series of care workers’ demands to candidates in their local elections: 1. The Foundation Living Wage (currently £9.50/hour) for all Salford care workers. 2. Holiday pay based on normal wages. 3. Sleep-in pay at the Foundation Living Wage rate. 4. Occupational sick pay for all Salford care workers. 5. Publicly delivered social care. 6. A strong voice for workers, those in receipt of care...

Class struggle in the Age of Covid — Conference document

Although it is to be hoped that vaccination programmes are successful in substantially suppressing the virus, it is likely to be many years before Covid fades into the background to such an extent that anything resembling a pre-Covid “normality” returns. Working-class struggle against the hegemony of market logic and the profit motive, to assert the interests of social and ecological need, is imperative. We fight for the labour movement to take up demands implied by the pandemic, such as: Full sickness and isolation pay for all workers, regardless of contractual status - a demand we will...

6 May: Vote Labour, push for a fighting policy

The English and Welsh local elections on 6 May have featured a lack of discussion about policies and politics. The virtual destruction of local government is continuing at speed; but there is little mention of it in the election campaign, let alone real debate. The vote is mainly being treated as a national referendum on the parties’ popularity, but with little discussion of their national policies on local government or anything else. At a national level, the Labour leadership has offered no theme other than a limp appeal to present 6 May as a chance to “send a message” to the Tories on NHS...

"Public ownership is just as necessary for banking as health and education"

Marxist economist Michael Roberts (thenextrecession.wordpress.com) has long argued and campaigned to take the banking and financial system into public ownership. He spoke to us about why. Why is public ownership of banking and finance an important demand for the working class and labour movement? What are the key arguments? Banking is an important service for ordinary workers, households and businesses, particularly small businesses. When we get our wage packets, they’re normally paid into bank accounts, and when we conduct most of our transactions they’re conducted with bank cards or credit...

Fighting council cuts in Nottingham

Labour-run Nottingham City Council have voted to make ÂŁ15.6m cuts this year, leading to 272 job cuts, 5% of the workforce. They also want to raise council tax by nearly 5%, and are dipping into reserves to balance their budget. But they face resistance from council unions and determined pockets of the community to the proposed cuts, particularly their proposal to close John Carroll Leisure Centre in Radford, one of the most deprived parts of the city. Before the vote was taken, Nottingham City Unison set the proposals in the context of recent history: "ÂŁ271m in budget savings since 2010 has...

Further cuts in SEND provision

Many councils across the country — the National Audit Office estimates over two dozen — are negotiating with the government for bailouts to make it possible to balance their 2021-22 budgets. Cuts in school special needs and disabilities (SEND) spending are among those demanded “in return” by at least five councils. Details for Bury, Hammersmith and Fulham, Kingston upon Thames, Richmond-upon Thames and Stoke on Trent have been published on the Department for Education website and reported by Schools Week. Some councils now promise to meet special needs in a “more cost-effective way within...

“Zero Covid” and “Build back fairer” – two motions, two approaches

Workers’ Liberty recently held a public debate with a comrade from the Zero Covid campaign. You can read Martin Thomas’ speech at the meeting here. We have criticised Zero Covid's focus on demanding - and having unrealistically high hopes from - police measures like lockdowns, and vagueness on promoting workers' struggles for measures of social solidarity in and against the pandemic. At the same we have proposed working together on building such struggles. It must be said we were disappointed to read Zero Covid’s motion in Labour left organisation Momentum’s “policy primary” to decide what...

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