NO MORE CUTS! LABOUR MUST FIGHT!
Southampton people’s budget meeting
Bo Matthews, Save Bitterne Walk-in Campaign
On Saturday 9 January Southampton TUSC (Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition) held a public meeting to support a council budget that meets the genuine needs of the people who live and work in the city.
Before the meeting residents chatted over tea and coffee and had photos taken of them holding signs with messages they had written telling the council what they would like them to do for the people.
Sue Atkins, TUSC, chaired the meeting and explained that throughout December we had been out on the streets asking local people what they would like from the Labour council and encouraging them to complete our budget consultation forms.
Sue then invited the audience to have their say on how they feel about local issues. Topics ranged from cuts to elderly social care provision, the local housing crisis, child poverty in the city, to the closure of five of the city’s libraries.
Sean Hoyle, the new RMT transport union president, promised solidarity from the TUSC affiliated union over backing the ‘people’s budget’. He also said establishment politicians are there to convince 51% of the population that they can have whatever they like in life as the other 49% will pay for it!
Southampton councillor Keith Morrell (who rebelled from Labour over cuts) also spoke. He talked about how people want accountability and a principled stand from their representatives on the local council – instead of doing whatever the government tells them to do.
People don’t expect betrayal from those that they voted into a position on the council.
Keith said Southampton Labour council and other councils around the country should stand together and demand that the government return the funding stolen from us.
The Labour Party, including its councillors, should get behind Jeremy Corbyn’s, anti-austerity call, on which he was decisively elected Labour leader. We should demand that Labour candidates support the People’s Budget. But, Keith doesn’t believe that this will happen and Labour could lose in May’s local elections. The consequence will be a Tory council in charge of our city.
Nick Chaffey, TUSC, closed the meeting saying that the council should utilise its reserves as a temporary tactic to protect our services. He said TUSC is 100% behind councils opposing the cuts and will stand with Labour councillors that oppose them, but we will not support those who accept them.
The meeting agreed to call a demonstration against the cuts on Saturday 6 February, 12noon outside West Quay, Southampton and to lobby the council on Wednesday 10 February, 1.15pm, Civic Centre, Southampton.
The Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is an electoral alliance involving the RMT transport union, the Socialist Party, other socialist group and leading members of trade unions.