Tag Archive | housing

Southampton People’s Budget, have your say!

What do you want from Southampton Council?

Southampton People’s Budget event, Saturday 9 January, 2pm

Meon Suite, James Matthews Building, Above Bar Street, Southampton

Come and have your say! Come and meet other anti-cuts campaigners and trade unionists in Southampton. Come and hear from anti-cuts councillor Keith Morrell what councils can do to stop the cuts. Hear from national president, Sean Hoyle, of the transport union RMT what unions are doing to oppose the cuts.

In the face of 5 years of cuts to local government funding by the Tory government, council services have been decimated with the loss of hundreds of council jobs. Over 15 000 people are on the council house waiting list. Poverty pay, the bedroom tax, benefit cuts and sanctions means a struggle to eat, with hundreds of families using food banks.

Youth services have closed. The NHS Walk-Ins in Bitterne and Shirley have been closed. Care homes for the elderly, like Woodside Lodge have been closed.

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Now libraries are under threat with funding cut to Burgess, Cobbett Road, Millbrook, Thornhill, Weston and the mobile library.

We say enough is enough. Southampton Labour Council alongside other Labour councils across the country must refuse to carry out further cuts; use reserves and borrowing powers to protect all jobs and services, and campaign for the government to restore the £90 million stolen from the city since 2010.

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Southampton library protest

Such a stand would receive enormous support. If the council set a people’s budget based on the needs of the city, rather than carry out further cuts, a mass campaign of council workers, their trade unions and the community could massive pressure on the government to fund local services.

The Tory government is weak and divided. It has been forced to u-turn on planned cuts to tax credits. It can be forced back over council cuts.

While cuts have been made to council funding, tax cuts have been given to big business and the supper rich. Austerity is a political choice. Austerity is planned poverty. The election of Jeremy Corbyn, unapologetically anti-austerity, has given hope to millions that the cuts can be stopped.

If Jeremy and the Labour Party gave its backing for Labour councils to take a stand with the support of trade unions like UNITE and UNISON, pledged an incoming Labour government would reimburse all local authorities who used reserves and borrowing to protect jobs and services, then the attacks on local council services could be stopped and reversed.

Southampton TUSC is committed to that fight, come and join us!

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SUPPORT SOUTHAMPTON PEOPLE’S BUDGET

SUPPORT SOUTHAMPTON PEOPLE’S BUDGET

A BUDGET TO MEET THE NEEDS OF THE CITY. A BUDGET TO FIGHT FOR!

Saturday 9 January 2pm, Meon Suite, James Matthews Building, Guildhall Square, Southampton. All welcome, full access.

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What is a people’s budget?

It is a budget that is set to meet the genuine needs of the people who live and work in the city.  It bases itself on the belief that Sotonians as service users, local authority or private sector workers and their trade unions, community groups or individuals, know about how to maintain and improve jobs and services. It is an alternative to the austerity driven agenda of the Tory government.

Sounds interesting, how would it work?

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As a first step we want people to come together to talk about the current state of services in the city and what we need. From this the council could set a budget based on those needs, not driven by austerity. Support across the city can then be built to demand the government restores funding to deliver the services we need. Cuts are hugely unpopular, a People’s Budget would gain enormous support. This would then be costed and presented as an alternative to the cuts being proposed by the other parties.

I don’t like services being cut but haven’t the council tried everything already?

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Every year local politicians ram down our throats the idea that austerity and cuts are the only option.  The election of Jeremy Corbyn in September shows that there is genuine interest and support for a different approach. He has said that cuts are unnecessary and do not need to be made. We agree and call upon Southampton Labour led city council to adopt this idea.

We can’t spend money we don’t have can we?

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Local councils have financial reserves and specific borrowing powers to enable them to fund a budget that would improve lives instead of ruining them. Southampton Labour Council must use these powers to set a legal, balanced, no cuts budget. Such a stand would gain massive support and force the government to restore council funding to the city. Jeremy Corbyn must back such a stand and give a commitment that a future Labour government would restore any money borrowed to protect jobs and services.

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The Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition opposes all cuts to jobs and services and calls on Labour councils and councillors to refuse to implement Tory cuts. TUSC was launched in 2010 by transport trade union leader Bob Crow. In Southampton we support Coxford Councillors Keith Morrell and Don Thomas, Councillors Against Cuts.

For more information contact Nick Chaffey 07833 681910 or visit http://www.tusc.org.uk

Sanction Busting! Fight for jobs! Defend the Welfare State!

The trial of Ian Duncan Smith

A protest against social benefit Sanctions.

Southampton high street served a different purpose than usual today as the setting for the trial of the synonymous Tory MP Iain Duncan Smith and his crimes against the poverty stricken masses of Great Britain. A bustling crowd of union activists slowly gathered in in the Above Bar area today outside the city’s Green and pleasant Palmerston park. After a few photos the crowd mobilised and a grey suited man with a Iain Duncan Smith mask started hassling passers civilians with jibes . .

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“What are you all doing laying about, that’s it ,you’re all sanctioned”

“ Why aren’t you at work? Are you a single mother?” and later on

“I could live on £50 a week but I don’t have to , so I don’t”

IDS led the joint procession of Unite and TUSC activists to loud chants of

“Same old story, lying Tory” and “lock him up, throw away the key”

IDS was marched up the high street by the crowd before being arrested and handcuffed to a mock –Police officer. The crowd gathered outside the Southampton Bargate (the setting for Southampton courthouse in medieval times) At the jeers of the crowd IDS was placed in a ball and chains and marched onwards for a street theatre style trial outside Southampton Jobcentre.

The event was essentially in protest of Ian Duncan Smith’s Benefits sanction

“under which a jobseeker can automatically lose their benefits for low-level offences like missing an interview with their Jobcentre adviser” (Huffingtonspost[online]8Jan15)*

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The atmosphere seemed mainly jovial with all protestors politely following the procession on foot. A few startled public shoppers looked with mixed emotions. As we got to the jobcentre I couldn’t help but notice the chortling from the jobseekers outside when Ian Duncan Smith arrived in ball & chains.

The jovial atmosphere eventually cooled as the cold hard reality set in. As IDS took to the artificial dock a union representative read the names of all those jobseekers who paid with their lives for this form revoked sickness benefit

Yes, that’s right! People have actually died from this Government’s ongoing debacle, masked under austerity the government continue to find new ways to rob the poorest of society of their social rights and basic living cost.

(Poor people, of course nobody rich or born of privilege has ever been threatened)

A cap on social benefits which has been accused of targeting the sick and elderly. Huffington Post reported on the 8th Jan 15 that a review has been carried out on the sanctions with discerning consequences ‘particularly the effect on mentally ill and disabled”.

Oldham MP Debbie Abrahams went one further back in November last year stating . .

“People are dying because of these sanctions” (Mancunian matters [online]7Nov14)*

sanctions Sadly this was the case for David Clapson, the diabetic jobseeker who had one weeks benefits stopped from the sanctions process and couldn’t even afford the electricity to keep his insulin chilled. ( Guardian [online]9Sept14)#

A DWP commissioned review carried out by Matthew Oakley, a welfare expert with experience from both the Treasury and private industry enterprise ‘Policy Exchange’ stated the most vulnerable in society are at risk.

*[Huffington Post article from 8Jan15 available online here http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/01/08/iain-duncan-smith-benefit-sanctions_n_6434852.html ]

**Mancunian Matters article available online here: http://www.mancunianmatters.co.uk/content/071171549-%E2%80%98people-are-dying%E2%80%99-oldham-mp-blasts-iain-duncan-smith-over-benefit-claim-sanctions

#The Guardian article from 9Sep14 available online here : www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/09/david-clapson-benefit-sanctions-death-government-policies

Lobby Your Councillor, Wed 11 Feb, 1.30pm Civic Centre

ANTI-CUTS CAMPAIGNERS CALL ON COUNCIL TO OPPOSE CUTS

Lobby Your Councillor, Wed 11 Feb, 1.30pm Civic Centre

Save Our Libraries, Save Our Day Centres and Care Homes – restore services to the city!

For the vast majority of people in Southampton the last five years of austerity have meant cuts in wages, increased taxes, rents and charges with a drastic reduction in public services in the city.

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On the eve of the most important elections for years there is a chance to reverse this tide of inequality and restore vital services to the city.

To do so will mean councillors refusing to vote through this latest round of cuts.

For all those who have echoed the cuts mantra, “There is no alternative”, this weeks revelations of HSBCs role in colossal tax evasion and tax avoidance demonstrates that the resources exist to ensure public services are maintained, jobs and wages are protected and our communities needs for young and old are met.

Southampton rejected the Conservative cuts agenda in 2012 after the mighty strikes of local council workers with Labour thrown into power. Since then Labour have bent the knee and dutifully carried out the cuts.

But the city has fought to oppose further cuts with strikes amongst council workers, healthworkers, firefighters and a threatened strike by police staff. Our communities have protested to save and protect local youth services, day centres, care homes with victories over Oaklands Pool and the Bitterne Walk-In Centre.

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This demonstrates the potential that exists for the council to build mass opposition to the government cutbacks, through a united campaign of our communities and trade unions, and force the next government to restore funding to the city that can tackle urgent problems we face.

Over 15 000 people are on the housing waiting list, unable to buy or rent in the private sector. How long are our children expected to live with their parents before this problem is tackled with a mass programme of affordable council houses being built in the city as we have in the past?

What is Labour for if it is not to stand up to the cuts agenda and reverse the decline of the city? Southampton Councillors Against Cuts, Coxford councillors Keith Morrell and Don Thomas have shown support can be won for such a stand. Keith Morrell was re-elected last year with 43% of the vote and Labour trailing in third.

We call on Southampton’s Labour councils to match the courage of the cities workers and communities who have stood up to resist the cuts and refuse to vote for the cuts on Wednesday. To do so will be to give confidence to the library workers and users who oppose council plans to decimate library services and all those who rely on council services.

For further information contact Nick Chaffey 07833 681910

Anti-cuts candidates standing across Southampton on May 22nd

After two years of Tory council cuts from Royston Smith, since elected to run the council in 2012, Labour have continued to swing the axe. A vote for Labour on May 22nd is a vote for £30 million of cuts and privatisation to Southampton jobs and services. 

We need councillors like Keith Morrell and Don Thomas in Coxford, Southampton who refused to vote for cuts and fought the Labour council to save Oaklands Swimming Pool. 

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That is why TUSC supporters are campaigning to re-elect Keith Morrell in Coxford, Southampton.

Let’s fight the ConDem government for the money Southampton needs to provide, jobs, affordable housing, and services for the young, old and vulnerable.

BargateDavid Rawlinson

Bassett Neil Kelly

Bevois Andrew Howe

Bitterne Declan Clune

Bitterne ParkLinda Boulton

Freemantle Mike Marx

Harefield Graham O’Reilly

Millbrook Josh Asker  & Tara Bosworth

(you have two votes in Millbrook due to bi-election)

Peartree Phil Snider

Portswood Nick Chaffey

RedbridgeKieran Wilson

Shirley Gary Laxton

Sholing Darren Galpin

SwaythlingKev Hayes

WoolstonSue Atkins