“Labour councillors ought to grow a backbone and stand up to the Tories” – Dave Nellist
We are pleased to share the below letter published by the Coventry Telegraph this week by Dave Nellist, former Militant Labour MP and Socialist Party councillor in Coventry. This week a petition organised by young service users will be presented to the council against youth club closures as part of an ongoing campaign against the “Connecting Communities” scheme.
“Cuts that Coventry Council are planning will radically worsen public services in our city, but in fact are entirely unnecessary.
Saying that governments of both hues over the last 10 years have originated the cuts is not enough. Local councils do have alternatives to reducing proper library provision, to cutting youth clubs and funding for children’s centres, to reducing bin collections.
Coventry Council has increased its reserves from £41m six years ago to £95m today. That’s five times the planned cuts for the next financial year! The Council has lent millions of pounds to private businesses (for example to a hotel and for student accomodation) – that money should be being used to defend the city’s public services that everyone in the city relies on.
Labour council leaders held a national meeting on 17th February at Warwick University. They could have drawn up a coordinated plan of resistance to pressurise the government to restore money stolen from our towns and cities.
Unfortunately, it seems that if council leaders have a strategy it’s limited to waiting for the next general election in 2020 for a change of direction. By then, 70% of council services will be gone, and thousands of local jobs will no longer be available for school leavers.
And anyway, on present form, with Labour councillors cutting service after service, there’s little incentive for people to vote Labour locally, and no guarantee of a general election victory in three years time.
Bluntly, Labour councillors ought to grow a backbone and stand up to the Tories, whilst there are still public services left to defend.”