By Southampton Socialist Party members
The stand taken by Coxford councillors Keith Morrell and Don Thomas to vote against the Labour council budget cuts and proposal to close Oaklands swimming pool has received enormous support from the local community and across the city. Importantly they have received the backing of local council trade unions.
It is now essential that this support is mobilised to maximize the pressure on the council, to reverse the cuts and save the pool. The council has reserves and borrowing power to raise the finance, after all millions were found to build the new Titanic museum!
No privatisation of Oaklands pool
It has been suggested that if the council hasn't got the money, the pool should be handed over to the community to run or a private provider found.
But then where would the money come from? The risk would be passed to the community and inevitably would mean going to the private sector that would end up running the pool for profit.
Private companies offer to run services not for the community but for profit. They do this by running down services, putting up charges and cutting staff and their pay and conditions.
Oaklands pool was built and paid for with public money and is an asset that should not be given away.Privatisation is no solution.
No need for cuts
The future of Oaklands pool is under threat because of the government cuts to council funding. The Con-Dems are cutting 25% of the money Southampton receives up to 2014, with further cuts promised.
But it is becoming clearer to everyone that the Con-Dem cuts are for the benefit of the super-rich, whose profits soar and who evade their taxes to the tune of over £120 billion.
Unite against all cuts
Everyone is being hit by cuts. Jobs, pay, pensions, benefits, schools, hospitals and social services.
A united campaign of the community, council workers and the trade unions must be built to oppose all cuts, redundancies and privatisation, to reverse the cuts and restore council workers' pay.
Such a mass campaign could put huge pressure on the majority Labour group not to implement cuts and to fight central government for the funding this city needs.
Support rebel councillors
Keith and Don now face disciplinary measures by Labour officials who want councillors to make cuts. Council trade unions must call on all councillors to join Keith and Don and oppose cuts.
Mass lobby against cuts
The next council meeting is on Wednesday 12 September. This will be an opportunity to mobilise mass support for the stand of the Coxford councillors and opposition to all cuts.
The Socialist Party gives full support to Keith and Don and will give support to any other Labour councillor who is prepared to join them.
The impact of their stand fully vindicates the election campaign of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) in opposing cuts. We must now ensure this campaign grows in support.