#CovBudget2015 – Trade Union Member Comments On Council ‘Consultation’ Over Cuts Budget
We have received these comments from a trade union member regarding the online consultation that has been launched by Coventry City Council regarding the proposed budget which, if passed, will see the biggest cuts in public services in living memory. The Council are proposing that virtually every library, children and community centre and public toilet – to name just a few services – are closed, resulting in the loss of many jobs.
Having been through a number of consultations regarding workplace issues such as restructures, I wasn’t exactly expecting much from the consultation launched by the Labour council regarding its cuts proposals, but I think it is important to tell them our views, whilst at the same time working to mobilise and build opposition amongst people in Coventry and service users.
However on visiting the Council website and starting to fill in the online survey, I soon realised that this wasn’t a consultation at all, but a way of trying to get the people of Coventry to run their own services (for free)! There are a mere 5 sections, and one of these is asking for your postcode. Questions 2-4 are an attempt to create a version of Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ but under the so called ‘progressive’ guise of the Labour council. Where is the question asking you if you agree with these proposals or not? It is not even on there!
Coventry Unison have put forward that the Council should use some of its £81 million in reserves to plug the gap caused by the reduction in funding from central government. This would allow the Councillors time to build a fight involving the whole city – the Council, trade unions, community groups, service users etc to demand more money from central government. But despite the unions making this very reasonable and common sense suggestion to the Labour group, it does not appear anywhere in their thinking!
Whilst Councillor Gannon, Cabinet member for Finance, has taken to Twitter to denounce ‘the extreme left’ for putting forward ideas for fighting the cuts, it seems he and his Labour colleagues have surrendered to the Tories before even trying to fight for a better deal for this city. Perhaps trade union members need a proper and genuine consultation on where our financial and political support should go in the elections in May?