Southampton TUSC Council Elections May 2016
We are standing in May’s council elections in Southampton to offer a 100% anti-cuts alternative to Conservative austerity and Labour councillors who say there is nothing they can do. We need more councillors like Keith Morrell, Don Thomas and Andrew Pope who have been prepared to vote against further cuts in the city.
All the Tory promises to return the country to economic growth and prosperity have turned to dust as cuts continue to the NHS, education and council services. Shamefully 24% of children in Southampton live in poverty and rely on food banks. No wonder that anger found a voice in the shock election victory of anti-austerity Jeremy Corbyn to leader of the Labour Party.
But all those hoping to see a change at Southampton Labour Council must be sorely disappointed as a further round of cuts were voted through.
Why are we being asked to pay in cuts to our council services while the Tories hand out massive cuts to big business and the super-rich? Why is the fifth richest country in the world seeing library funding cut, Bitterne NHS Walk-In closed, elderly care at Woodside Lodge and Brownhill House closed and a housing crisis that sees 15 000 on the council waiting list?
TUSC candidates are standing across the city alongside anti-cuts campaigners in Coxford, Redbridge, Shirley and Bargate to give a voice to those who want an end to austerity. We reject the argument of Simon Letts that there is nothing Southampton Council can do. Why not mobilise the anger in Southampton of council workers, their trade unions and the local community and demand the Tory government restores the £90 million funding to Southampton, cut since 2010?
To do this would mean calling a halt to further cuts and using the council’s £40 million reserves and borrowing powers to protect jobs and services.
The council found an extra £2 million to furnish the Arts Quarter with fancy door knobs, why not find the money for the Bitterne Walk-In or Brownhill House? Why not fund the libraries and youth services we need?
Such a stand would receive an enthusiastic response and heap enormous pressure on a weak and divided government. The government has been forced to retreat on cuts to tax credits and PIP disability benefits. Why not on council cuts?
Election launch public meeting: NHS GP Crisis, re-open the Bitterne Walk-In
Saturday 26 March, 2pm Bitterne United Reform Church
Bitterne Precinct (Above Iceland), Southampton
For more information contact Nick Chaffey 07833 681910
Southampton council meets on 18 November in the next round of council budget consultations. Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) supporters will be lobbying the council to defend jobs and services and back Jeremy Corbyn’s call to stop cuts.
Services currently under threat include six libraries in the city. Just £250,000 would keep them open and protect librarians’ jobs. NHS walk-in services in Bitterne have recently closed, despite a five-year long TUSC campaign. Just £120,000 would fund the nursing staff to re-open services there.
While these essential services suffer, Southampton council has found £2 million to complete its corporate arts centre project, now home to a new Nandos restaurant.
The council actually held £19.9 million in its ‘General Fund reserves’ at the end of the 2014-2015 financial year. It also has £62.8 million in ‘earmarked GF reserves’ which, however, can still be used to support services. Councillors make choices – why can’t they find the money for the libraries and walk-in services?
Over £90 million cuts have been carried through since 2010 in Southampton, devastating jobs and services.
After winning a majority on the council in the 2012 local elections, Labour has continued voting though Tory cuts and losing council seats along the way, while anti-cuts councillors Don Thomas and Keith Morrell (a member of the TUSC national steering committee) have been re-elected with huge majorities.
The election of Jeremy Corbyn has boosted support for the anti-austerity movement. During the Labour leadership he spoke in Southampton to close to a thousand people who cheered his call to end council cuts.
To build support for such a stand TUSC is organising a Southampton People’s Budget conference to identify what the city needs and how we can fight for it.
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.
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.
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