Monday, 24 September 2012

TUSC Campaigning Locally

Across the country local authorities are facing significant cuts to their funding. In Brighton and Hove the first total of £35m will be slashed from the budget, with more to come. The government expects the council to 'find savings' - code for reducing and even closing local services – by attacking workers conditions, cutting jobs and exploring routes to privatisation. Across the country councils are refusing to wage a fightback, with only a handful of Labour councilors following their conscience and refusing to vote for cuts.

In Brighton the Greens won the election calling for no cuts, but completely failed to put forward (let alone carry out) a strategy to achieve that aim.

For TUSC this election is a campaign on a series of local issues, all linked to the need to wage a serious fightback against the government. Every campaign that is being fought for in Brighton and Hove must be linked to a campaign for a budget that opposes the government's cuts, that calls for the funding to be returned to our city, and appeals to other councils to do the same. We reject the divisive choices being asked of us, to prioritise one job or service above another. There is more than enough wealth within society to prevent any cuts taking place, but pointing that out is not enough, as trade unionists, campaigners, young people and others, we need to build a serious challenge to the cuts.

TUSC is a national coalition fighting to establish a real party of workers, the poor, of young people and so on. We feel let down by all the main political parties and believe it is about time a real alternative is built.

No to Council Tax Benefit Cuts

No return to Poll-Tax poverty! We call on Brighton and Hove Council to reject the demand from the Con-Dem government to cut council tax benefit. By proposing to cut the benefit paid to working-age people in Brighton, the council are passing the £2.5 million bill for tax cuts by a government of millionaires to the poorest and most vulnerable citizens of Brighton. We believe that this is a betrayal of the mandate for change and resistance to austerity that the Council were given in the 2011 elections.

The council’s proposals can only increase poverty poverty amongst the low-paid and wage-less citizens of Brighton, and continue attacks on our rights, such as the recent jailing of an 80 year old pensioner for a ten year old bill. Instead, our councillors should lead an active campaign by community groups, trade unions, student organisations and all those affected by the cuts in spending to demand that government return the £2.5 million cut to the benefit budget and the £35 million total stolen from our city by Cameron, Clegg and Osborne.

No Cuts to Disability Accommodation

The proposal to close some group homes for adults with learning disabilities must be rejected. These people are some of the most vulnerable living in our city and often have no voice of their own. They deserve the same rights as anyone else, and must be allowed to remain in their own home. to remove them from their own home for financial reasons is morally wrong and any move could have a detrimental effect on their health and well-being.

No Academy at Whitehawk Primary School

Th government plans to convert most schools into academies is an attack on democratically accountable local education, and a foot in the door towards privatisation. Academies are an attack on staff as well. A successful campaign against Varndean school becoming an academy was waged last year which saw an important alliance between staff and parents forged. While this issue once again highlights the need to campaign for a party to actually oppose academies (Labour introduced them while in government), local battles can be won against the academy agenda.

No to Outsourcing of University of Sussex services

This Summer the University of Sussex announced plans to “outsource” 235 jobs, in effect privatising large swathes of support staff from catering and facilities, and the services they provide, including health and safety, and security. This has been met so far by a furious reaction from staff and students on campus, with meetings and demonstrations of hundreds having taken place in the short time period since the plans were announced.

Universities often try to justify privatisation by arguing it reduces “waste” spending and improves efficiency. In reality however it is a clear move to cut university spending on what management may see as “waste”, but are actually essential services for staff and students

This is part of a trend that has been seen across the public sector as a whole over the last decade, and is being rapidly accelerated by the Con-Dems as part of their drive for austerity.  The private sector is salivating at the prospects of the selling off of hundreds of services, in local government, the NHS and education. The Olympic G4S scandal is just one in a long line of private sector failures due to cost-cutting and maximising profits.

The privatisation at Sussex is part of this agenda and must be resisted by workers and students as part of a united democratic struggle, carrying the message – education for public need, not private greed!

Trade Unions and October 20th

We encourage you to join the October 20th TUC demonstration in London, and contact for information on transport. This demonstration must be a springboard to a greater fight-back against the cuts including co-ordinating strike action for the same day for maximum impact, and it must become a campaign for a general strike in Britain against all the cuts. We also encourage you to join a trade union and get active in your workplace.