The Labour Representation Committee (LRC) conference, 10 November, established an anti-cuts councillors network.
A similar plan made last year did not materialise, but, with more councillors now pledging to vote against cuts, and more likely to come forward as the attack on local government budgets deepen, there is fresh determination to get the initiative off the ground.
The conference saw a debate about what left Labour councillors should do. Two councillors argued that there was no option but to implement cuts, while doing the maximum possible to help the working class within that framework. In London, Islington council, unlike, for example, Lambeth and Lewisham, has made leftish reforms — while also cutting. Other councillors, from Hull, Broxtowe and Barking, argued for voting against cuts.
A resolution was passed which, while formally maintaining the LRC’s demand for councillors to vote against cuts, made justifications for those who do not.
Nonetheless, the group of councillors who met at lunchtime agreed to set up a network based on a strong anti-cuts position. They also decided to make links with local government workers to push this policy in Unison and GMB, and Unite members fighting for their union to changes its policy of pressuring councillors to “maintain the Labour whip”.