‘Connecting Communities’ Stop the latest cuts from Coventry Council
Saturday saw trade unionists and anti-cuts groups out in the city centre campaigning against the latest round of cuts (under the misnamed title of ‘Connecting Communities’) from Coventry City Council. Hundreds of leaflets were distributed and petitions signed against the closure of libraries, children’s and youth centres.
We publish below the text of a leaflet distributed by the Socialist Party. If you agree, get in touch using the form at the bottom!
‘Connecting Communities’ Stop the latest cuts from the City Council
Councillors should fight austerity – not implement it
Coventry City Council is ‘consulting’ on proposals that will have a devastating impact on Coventry people, and change the nature of vital public services including public libraries, youth work and nursery provision, children’s and youth centres.
The Council wants to get rid of paid staff in the libraries and replace them with volunteers who will work for free. Doesn’t this sound a bit like the ‘Big Society’ of David Cameron and the Tories. Unfortunately it is being introduced by a Labour council here in Coventry.
Last year the council ‘consulted’ over plans to cut £1.2m from libraries and play centres. Despite dozens of meetings the Council largely ignored the opposition and went ahead with closing play centres on Eagle Street and Edgewick, cutting spending on library books and DVDs, and reducing library staff and opening hours. Now they’re coming back for more!
Right-wing Labour want 3x as much in cuts to libraries, nurseries, youth clubs and community centres next year – £3.8m!
And to rub salt into the wound, whilst the council is again organising meetings to ‘listen to people’s views’, at the very same time it had set up a fund, over £1/2m, to give grants to those who want to take over services under threat.
Jeremy Corbyn has just been re-elected as Labour leader on an anti-austerity platform. However Labour councils like here in Coventry, or in Durham and Derby where they are attacking low paid education workers, are undermining his anti-austerity message.
It’s true the Tories have slashed the amount of money provided to our city. Their only concern is to protest the bankers and the 1%. However Labour locally could be opposing these cuts. For example:
- Use the reserves to hold off the cuts. The Council has increased its reserves from £40m in 2010 to £84m today. Use some of this money to buy time to build a massive campaign of unions, local communities and service users to demand more money from central government.
- Councillors should look to link up with other local authorities including calling a conference of councillors and unions from local government to build a massive national campaign to restore funding to our councils.
Unfortunately our Council has done neither of these. Not one Labour Councillor has voted against any of the proposed cuts packages. We need councillors that will fight these cuts and stand up for our communities. At the same time we need build a movement that can challenge capitalist austerity and lead a fight for a socialist system which can guarantee our public services and put the interests of working class people before private profit.
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