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.  

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