Following the discussion on this blog on local council cuts, after the Corbyn letter to council leaders, arguing that they had not choice but to make cuts LINK , I thought it would be worth publishing the motion passed at the People's Assembly Conference earlier this month. The motion from Cardiff PA was more contentious that other motions but passed with a clear majority.
“No Cuts” Campaign Against Council CutsThis along with the suggestions from Felicity Dowling LINK and William Quick LINK could provide the basis for a discussion at Brent Fightback and Brent Momentum early in the New Year.
Conference notes1. People’s Assembly opposes all cuts. Five more years of council cuts is unsustainable.2. Council cuts derive from the Tory government’s austerity policies of making us pay for the financial crisis not of our making.3. People, especially younger people, across the UK are under financial pressure from benefit cuts and falling real wages. In these circumstances they increasingly rely on the collective provision of council and other services, only to find that they are being withdrawn whilst at the same time experiencing increased payments for less provision.4. Council cuts are transmitted down from the UK Tory government by a combination of withdrawal of finance and requirement to set a legal budget.5. Councillors, lacking politics and confidence to challenge this political and bureaucratic process, buckle under and pass âtheir problemâ as they see it, on to us.6. Historical examples of councils defying central government: Poplar 1921, Clay Cross & Bedwas and Machen 1972, Rate Capping Rebellion of 80s with 26 Labour councils pledging to defy government with Liverpool and Lambeth going furthest.7. Recently examples of Northern Ireland Assembly and House of Lords prepared to risk a constitutional crisis over implementation of Tory welfare reform and tax credits.8. A small number of Labour & Green councillors have voted for no cuts.
Conference calls forPeople’s Assembly to launch a national campaign for councils to refuse to set cuts budgets this year and instead set ‘needs’ budgets based upon estimating what is actually needed to adequately maintain services and campaigning for the government to provide it.
Conference therefore resolves to1. Publicise and develop arguments around ‘needs budgets’ to aid activists2. Prepare model motions calling upon councils to set no cuts budgets for use by local anti-cuts groups, trade union branches etc3. Give a platform to, and amplify voice of councillors who vote against all cuts 4 In all council areas an electronic petition could be drawn up demanding councillors vote against all cuts, raising directly the issues that we face and the responsibility our elected representatives have to fight back.5. Rectify lack of material on PA website supporting local campaigners around council cuts, especially around the political arguments (ie. responding to ‘cuts have to be made’, ‘we have no choice’, ‘what would you cut instead’)6. Organise a national meeting for councillors, trade unionists and anti-austerity campaigners to explore how councils can resist.7. Compile and share information on examples of council ‘best practice’ in resisting austerity such as using reserves, no bedroom tax eviction policies, pledges of non-cooperation with the Trade Union Bill, Manchester Council opening up empty buildings to homeless etc.”