Monday, 17 October 2016

More Massive Cuts Planned for Bristol City Council

Bristol mayor Marvin Rees on BBC Points West

By Mike Luff, Bristol Unison member, personal capacity

Bristol is facing a massive attack on its jobs and services, with a rapidly capitulating newly elected Labour mayor and its Labour controlled council. The Mayor, when challenged on the television that he was elected on an anti austerity platform, surprised the interviewer saying by saying “NO”.

Proposed cuts include the halving of bus subsidies, charges for users of dementia service, fees for disabled parking bays, handing over parks from Council control, cuts in museum hours, reduction of lollipop controls, ending of companion bus passes for carers, library service closures and some removal of short term help for paying bills – the list goes on. This amounts to £27 million cuts for 2017/2018, and then there is a further £65m cuts by 2020. Even the Mayor describes his proposed cuts as “horrifically unpalatable”.

This is in addition to 1000 full time equivalent posts being cut, one sixth of the workforce over the next few months. This will inevitably lead to hundreds of compulsory redundancies. No service closures have been announced, so we are likely to see reductions in services. As a Regional Unison officer said ”the cuts in jobs are not sustainable at such thin levels”. Services will easily collapse.

On the day before these announcements, the Anti Cuts Alliance, BADACA, met with Mayor Rees. We gave a clear way forward to build a mass popular campaign of trade unions, communities and campaigns from across the city, which would strengthen the demand for the return of our money from this weak Tory Government. By using reserves, prudential borrowing, the cuts can be frozen legally for a period, during which such a campaign can be built. This could act as a beacon to other authorities to build a national campaign to defeat the Tory government cuts.

The excuse given for not trying to build such a campaign was that it would weaken negotiations with the government! The fact that such an approach has been used and failed over the previous years is conveniently forgotten. On the following day, Sajid Javid, the Local Government Secretary visited Bristol and was asked about the government funding, he said “What I say is local government are looking to use their money more efficiently and having to make savings”.

Jeremy Corbyn has visited Bristol supporting Rees on a number of occasions  during the election campaign stating “the message of opposition to austerity”. Jeremy has to face up to those who are undermining the general election campaign of an anti austerity government by carrying out the Tory cuts.

Bristol and District Anti-Cuts Alliance public meeting
Report back of meeting between BADACA and Mayor Rees
7.30pm, Monday 17th October
Tony Benn House, 92 Victoria St, BS1 6AY
Come to the meeting and hear a full report back of the discussion between Marvin Rees representatives of BADACA. We will also be discussing how we can resist this latest round of swingeing cuts.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

BADACA meeting - Stop the 1000 job cuts at Bristol City Council!

From the Bristol and District Anti-Cuts Alliance (BADACA):

BADACA public meeting
Report back of meeting between BADACA and Mayor Rees
7.30pm, Monday 17th October
Tony Benn House, 92 Victoria St, BS1 6AY

Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees addresses a lobby opposing huge cuts to council jobs. 

Bristol Labour Mayor Marvin Rees has agreed to meet a delegation from Bristol & District Anti-Cuts Alliance (BADACA) to discuss our concerns about the cuts programme that he has already embarked on, 1,000 extra redundancies this financial year, and cuts planned in the budget for future years. The delegation will be lead by two-time anti-austerity mayoral candidate, Tom Baldwin. (Tom stood for mayor in 2012 & 2016 for the Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition (TUSC) )

BADACA has always opposed all cuts and will be calling on the mayor to refuse to implement the cuts and to join with the Local Government unions, the anti-austerity movement & Labour authorities in other cities in fighting back. Reserves & prudential borrowing should be used to stop the cuts for now while the movement builds. Jeremy Corbyn has just been re-elected as Labour leader, with an increased mandate & on a clear anti-austerity programme. Labour has the power to start to push back on Tory austerity measures as they have successfully under Corbyn with disability benefits & tax credits. Local authorities can't take any more - we need to end austerity NOW!!!

With the Tories in disarray after the unexpected Brexit vote and the sudden political demise of Cameron, Osborne, Iain Duncan-Smith & Michael Gove, we can push them back. Replacement chancellor, Philip Hammond has already abandoned Osborne's austerity targets... the alternative to fighting is the end of council services as we know them in Bristol!!

Come & join us at Tony Benn House at 7.30pm on Monday 17th October for a report-back on the meeting with the mayor and a discussion on where the campign needs to go from here. All welcome!!

The meeting will hear from a member of the Save Hanham Library campaign about the cuts to libraries in South Gloucestershire and a teacher about the attacks on education from the Tory government, including the proposals for new grammar schools. 

This meeting follows our successful meeting in September which was attended by about 15 people and agreed to continue to get BADACA meetings going again. At this meeting we are hoping to set a date for an AGM so new officers can be elected. More info in an email bulletin shortly. If you're not on our mailing list and would like to be, please message with your name & email address.