Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Council Security BITE Anti-Cuts Protester

Bristol City Council Block Entry to Public as They Vote For £33m Cuts

Bristol mayor Marvin Rees addressed the Bristol City Council budget meeting yesterday, claiming “transparency is a key commitment”. Minutes later the public gallery was cleared by security staff, leaving councillors to discuss the city’s budget behind closed doors. In an unprecedented move members of the public were then cleared from City Hall altogether.

Unaccountable private security staff were again deployed by the council as an anti-cuts protest gathered outside City Hall from 5pm. Members of the public were physically blocked from entering, first at the bottom of the access ramp and then again at the door.

In a shocking incident, Bristol and District Anti-Cuts Alliance (BADACA) campaigner Mike Luff was bitten by security staff as he tried to gain access to the meeting. The violent attack drew blood and the victim was later treated in hospital. 

Complaints will be followed up against the council. This attempt to undermine the democratic right to protest will not be tolerated.

BADACA spokesperson Tom Baldwin said:
We saw disgraceful behaviour from Bristol City Council last night. This was not just a vicious assault on one individual, it was an attack on local democracy and on the right to protest. Councillors and the mayor are supposed to represent the people of this city, it is our right to witness the discussions and decisions that they are making. If Marvin Rees claims that he must make these cuts then he should be upfront and honest about the process, not hiding behind closed doors and hired thugs.
Disgusting as the biting incident was, the most violent act committed that night took place inside the council chamber itself. The budget passed contains £33m cuts, as part of over £100m being cut in the next few years. Councillors have voted to devastate services that many Bristolians rely on.”

BADACA Pledges That 'The Fight Goes On' as Bristol City Council pass cuts budget.
The huge cuts laid out in the budget passed last night (Tuesday 21st February) by Bristol City Council are not acceptable to the people of Bristol. We hear the excuses from the Labour Party that they have no alternative and the Tory government made them do it. But if this is really true, then why do we even bother electing local politicians?

As we set out in our petition, signed by 456 people, which we presented to the budget meeting yesterday, Labour councils could legally choose to use reserves & prudential borrowing to suspend the cuts and joint the fight for more money. A united campaign of ordinary people, anti-austerity groups, the trade unions and Labour councils would put huge pressure on the Tory government to capitulate and properly fund local government. Surrey County Council have proved that central government can be pressurised into providing more money and we will continue to campaign for the Labour Party to adopt this policy rather than destroying the services that hold our city together.

BADACA Organising Secretary, Matthew Carey said, “It is a tragedy that the Labour Party has chosen to pass this budget enabling them to move towards huge cuts to vital services in Bristol. But for BADACA, the fight goes on! We will fight every step of the way to defend voluntary sector services, bus services, libraries, Neighbourhood Partnerships, public toilets, Customer Service Points, meals on wheels, care services, children's centres, leisure centres and all other threatened services as detailed proposals are put forward by the council.”

200 March Against Bristol Council Cuts

200 people marched through Bristol in a demonstration called by the Bristol and District Anti-Cuts Alliance (BADACA). They were out to defend jobs and services and oppose the draconian cuts being made by Bristol City Council. 

Socialist Party members Tom, Sheila, Sue and Roger addressed the demonstration, see their speeches below. 

For more photos and videos of the demonstration go to the BADACA facebook page. 

See other recent posts on this site for more about the cuts and how they can be stopped.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Stop £101m Cuts to Bristol City Council!

£101m cuts are due to be voted on by Bristol City Council on Tuesday 21st February. We don't yet know the full details of what these mean - most of them come under vague headings of "rethinking" or "restructure". However what we do know indicates that these cuts will devastate many vital local services. Libraries will be sold off, public toilets will close, as will all council advice centres other than Temple Street. Less will be spent on adult education, arts, swimming and busses. There will be £1m cut from the Crisis and Prevention Fund. Charges will also be rising for things as varied as dementia care, museum admission and residents' parking schemes. See below for a full list of the cuts, events coming up to oppose them and for comment on how they can be beaten. 

A full list of the cuts proposals so far can be found on the Bristol Post website.

Stopping Council Cuts - Socialist Party public meeting
Tuesday 7th February, 7.30pm
Malcolm X Centre, 141 City Road, BS2 8YH
At this meeting we will be discussing how council cuts can be stopped and hearing from Nick Chaffey from Southampton's people's budget campaign.

Bristol and District Anti-Cuts Alliance Demonstration
Saturday 18th February, 11am
College Green, Bristol
Join the protest the weekend before the council meets to vote on the cuts. 

Sign and share the BADACA online petition against the cuts - to be presented to the council when they meet to vote on the cuts budget. 

The Labour Party have been distributing the leaflet above, claiming to be fighting back against Tory cuts. However, while Bristol's budget is being cut by the Tories in Westminster, it is Labour mayor Marvin Rees who is passing on the cuts locally. They have been drawn up by him and his cabinet team (which includes a Tory) and it looks likely that they will be voted through by the majority Labour council. This is a disgrace, people didn't vote for a Labour mayor to get Tory cuts. Instead of handing out leaflets trying to shift the blame Labour should be building a campaign to defeat the cuts. Fighting back should start with not voting for the cuts, which undermines Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity message and causes more misery for the people of Bristol, especially the most vulnerable who will be hardest hit. 

We reject the claim that Labour have no choice but to make these cuts. The Socialist Party calls for a no-cuts budget based on what Bristol needs, not the cuts the Tories are demanding. This must be backed by the building of a mass campaign that can push the government back. The council has huge reserves which can be used to keep services running while such a campaign is built.

Working with the unions and anti-cuts campaigners, local people can be brought into a campaign of protests and strikes if necessary that can force the government to reverse the cuts. Linking up with other Labour councils that have been put in the same position by the Tories and are willing to fight will strengthen the campaign further. The Tories are hopelessly divided over Brexit, this is a weak government and they can be beaten. 

There is plenty of money in the country for us to be funding these vital services. Austerity is a political choice not an economic necessity. The Tories claim that there is no money for public services but have still managed to cut taxes for the super-rich. We need to stop the austerity steamroller and fight for a socialist society where the needs of ordinary people come before the profits of big business.  

Friday, 3 February 2017

Defend Our NHS - 4th March National Demonstration

Saturday 4th March 2017
12pm Tavistock Square, London.

Our NHS is under threat from Tory cuts and privatisation. This year the Red Cross have warned of humanitarian disaster in the NHS. Investment is needed for this vital institution but instead the government are cutting drastically. £22bn is being cut from the NHS in England under the secretive STP cuts. We don't yet know exactly where the £300m+ cuts in the Bristol area will hit but other areas have already announced hospital closures. The Tory government is pushing the NHS toward privatisation so their rich mates can grab a slice of the profits to be made from illness. There is already a creeping privatisation in the health service, with private companies operating at a profit to provide services behind the NHS logo. Recently Richard Branson's Virgin health company took over NHS contracts worth £700m in the Bath area. 
This national demonstration is vital, we must send the message loud and clear:
Save our NHS! No cuts, no closures, no privatisation!

Coach tickets from Bristol can either be booked via Unison or UNITE Trade Unions (non-members welcome) or The People's Assembly:
Unison Area Health Branch:
Tel: 07813142832

UNITE Bristol Area Health Branch:
Tel: 07983233908

(UNITE and Unison both free for members with a £5 returnable deposit or £10 charge for non-members)

The People's Assembly at a cost of £6-£10 at:

Further information about the demo can be found at:

Below an NHS nurse and Socialist Party member explains why they are going on the march:

We're seeing almost daily headlines announcing the NHS is in crisis. From overstretched A&Es, to patients left on trolleys, to staff morale being at an all-time low - our NHS is at breaking point.

The Tories' empty promises in 2010 that the NHS was 'safe in their hands' have been broken time and time again. A real time pay cut of 25% since 2010 has left some NHS staff relying on food banks. Our commitment to caring for our patients is continuously exploited. The jokes about nurses going whole shifts without time for a toilet break are becoming an increasing reality.

We're seeing mass privatisation of services - including those on the frontline. Proposed closures of hospitals, specialist services and A&Es are provoking thousands to go onto the streets in disgust.

The future is one of either fight or be trampled. The mood is gathering among health workers to come down firmly on the side of fighting back. The inspirational struggle of the junior doctors has given confidence to others in the NHS.

The campaign against the pay freeze is now to be debated in parliament after an online petition hit over 100,000 signatures. Despite the attacks from the right-wing media aiming to undermine faith in the NHS, working class people still see it as the jewel in the crown. And despite massive cuts, staff still deliver an overwhelmingly good quality of care.

The national demonstration on 4 March is vital. It's a chance to bring together the hundreds of local campaigns across the country into the national spotlight. It's a chance to show the government that we will fight for our health service.

I'll be marching to defend the NHS for the working class today and for future generations. I'll be marching because NHS workers deserve more than a continuous pay freeze and because the patients I and other NHS workers care for deserve better.