Local Councils

How Labour should end austerity

Author

Chris Reynolds

Since 2010 austerity has ground down working-class living standards for the benefit of the ultra-rich. Life has been made meaner and more insecure.

Boris Johnson now says he will end austerity. But that is all a matter of previously-budgeted money being “recycled” and called expansion, and random promises to try to win a general election after which he will be free to do his right-wing worst for five years.

Against “special needs” cuts

Author

Janine Booth

On Thursday 30 May, campaigners protested at twenty-eight locations around the country, demanding the reversal of cuts to Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) funding. Organised mainly by parents and SEND kids, protests ranged from a handful of people with a banner to hundreds on town hall steps.

Why the working class needs libraries

Author

Simon Nelson

Close to 650 libraries have closed in the UK since 2010. Some that remain “open” rely on volunteers, have no paid staff, and need grants and donations to run. In 2018 alone 130 libraries were shut down. More than 700 staff lost their jobs; the number of volunteers is now over 50,000.

Industrial news in brief

Author

Ollie Moore and Katy Dollar

Tube win against cuts

Cuts had been planned by London Underground to train maintenance schedules, to reduce the frequency of train safety checks, from 24-hourly to 96-hourly, or up to monthly or more on some lines. Fleet maintenance workers in the RMT union had set strikes for 17-20 May. RMT had also planned to demonstrate outside London’s City Hall on 16 May, highlighting Labour mayor Sadiq Khan’s failure to resist Tory cuts to Transport for London’s budget.

Vote Labour in 2nd May local elections

Solidarity calls on readers to vote Labour in the local elections on 2 May, which cover one-third of the seats in almost all the metropolitan authorities in England (big cities outside London).

They cover almost all the “unitary authorities” (those which combine “county” and “district” powers): in some of those all seats are contested, in some only a third. Any they cover many district councils, and six mayoral elections.

Industrial news in brief

Author

Janine Booth

On Tuesday 19 March, Hackney’s special needs transport workers struck to demand shift allowances.

Two dozen strikers joined the picket line at the depot in Leyton, and were in good spirits despite the drizzle. Pickets included both passenger escorts and drivers, and the majority were black and ethnic minority women.

Only four workers had broken the strike, which was the first of six named days of action.

Hackney Labour Party activists attended the picket line and told strikers that although the Labour Council is frustrating them, rank-and-file members support them.

Children’s centres fight seeks link-up

Author

Katy Dollar

The campaign to save the children’s centres in Lambeth, south London, continues despite the Labour council’s vote to go ahead with closures.

The next step is a demonstration on Sunday 24 March, from 10.30 at Windrush Square, Brixton.

Labour revolt in Birmingham

Author

Jim Denham

Backbench Labour councillors in Birmingham have condemned their own leaders in a letter demanding that the council leaders “step back” from confrontation with two unions. The protesting councillors include several senior figures such as former council leader Albert Bore.

Lambeth fight continues after budget vote

Author

Katy Dollar

On Wednesday 13 February, Lambeth Council voted through another cuts budget. The document included a line in a table cutting £500,000 from Children’s Services. Five children’s centres are to be closed, seven more will have their service provision cut, and staff across the borough will lose their jobs.

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