Tuesday, March 26, 2013

"Filled with horror" at local government cuts? Bring the debate about an alternative to UNISON Conference

Today's news report on local government spending cuts tells local government workers what we already know (http://m.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/mar/25/council-cuts-local-government-knees).

When Council Leaders go on the record to say that the budget cuts which they will be implementing "fill them with horror" you know that things are bad.

But you also have to ask the obvious question - "why are you doing it?" It wasn't the users (or the staff) of our Day Centres or Libraries who brought the global economy to its knees and forced us to bail out the banks.

Why should decent, social democratic local politicians who got involved to make a positive difference for local communities now find their role is to be the transmission belt whereby the Coalition Government can impose the burden of the financial crisis upon some of the most vulnerable?

I can't answer for those who are prepared to do things which "fill them with horror" but I would hazard a guess that what's missing, in the Labour Party and the wider movement is confidence that there is an alternative strategy for a progressive local authority other than to deliver savings to meet cuts in central government funding (whilst trying to minimise the damage).

This is why the challenge posed by "Councillors Against the Cuts" (http://councillorsagainstcuts.org/) is so important. By putting forward an alternative, Councillors Against Cuts open up space for the debate which needs to take place about Labour's strategy for local government in the remainder of this Parliament (and beyond).

This, in turn, is why UNISON activists should campaign to prioritise Motion 42 (Councillors Against Cuts) for debate at UNISON National Delegate Conference. The Conference doesn't take place until June - but Regions are being consulted on their priorities by the Standing Orders Committee now (and should in turn be consulting branches).

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

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