Socialist Worker

Battles against council budget cuts across London

Issue No. 2041

Protesting against budget cuts in Lambeth, south London (Pic: G Williams/Lambeth SOS)

Protesting against budget cuts in Lambeth, south London (Pic: G Williams/Lambeth SOS)


Pensioners storm Lambeth town hall

Startled councillors cowered in fear when a group of furious pensioners and disabled people stormed Lambeth town hall in south London on Wednesday of last week.

More than 450 protesters marched on the town hall against £700,000 budget cuts. The council had expected a large crowd but was overwhelmed by what was the biggest demo at the building in a decade.

Tempers boiled over when the leader of the council refused requests to adjourn the meeting and come down to address the huge crowd.

Between 80 and 100 protesters ran into a stairwell and rushed the public gallery above the chamber.

Gordon McLennan from Lambeth Pensioners' Action Group shouted, 'Shame on you' through a loudhailer in the direction of the Labour benches.

Meanwhile, downstairs, other protesters attempted to rush the door leading into the council chamber. As guards battled to hold back the angry crowd, the meeting was adjourned.

A week before the protest, the leader of the council had said, 'I'm looking forward to welcoming some of our older people to the town hall next week.'

It is believed that he may since have changed his mind.


Mace thrown in Camden

Councillors in Camden, north London, were left shaken as anger against budget cuts erupted in protest on Wednesday of last week.

Some 200 service users facing cuts stormed into the council and in the ensuing chaos the mayor's mace was thrown to the ground. The council then called the police.

Protesters are angry at the Tory and Liberal Democrat council's plans to cut £23 million pounds from its budget.

The cuts will slash children's services, disabled people's services, housing and adult social care. Some 350 council workers will lose their jobs.


Budget blocked in Tower Hamlets

New Labour's plans to slash welfare services in Tower Hamlets, east London, were in disarray after the council failed to set a budget at a council meeting on Thursday of last week.

A combination of campaigning on the ground and pressure from the council's Respect – led opposition forced New Labour to pull back on some of the cuts to stave off a rebellion.

The budget – and Labour's own amendments to it – was to go to an emergency council meeting this week.


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