Socialist Worker

Tories cut the poor and cushion the rich

by Mark L Thomas
Issue No. 2232

Services that help vulnerable people, like the Southeby Mews Day Centre in Islington, north London, are coming under sustained assault by the Tories  (Pic: http://www.guysmallman.com/Guy Smallman )

Services that help vulnerable people, like the Southeby Mews Day Centre in Islington, north London, are coming under sustained assault by the Tories  (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Cuts to council services will hit the poorest areas hardest.

The government is slashing more than a quarter of the central government grants of every local council in England and Wales.

The Financial Times underlined the scale of the assault.

It said, “Local government is to bear the biggest share, proportionately, of the biggest cuts in central government spending since the Second World War.”

Libraries, leisure centres and parks face closure. Support services for children and young people will be hit hard.

And a survey by the Chartered Institute for Public Finance and Accountancy shows that even areas that council leaders say they will protect, like social care, face cuts of up to 20 percent.

The cuts also mean a major assault on jobs, pay and hard won conditions.

Chunk

The “formula grant” that makes up the largest chunk of local government funding will be cut by 27 percent over the next four years.

But these cuts are not being spread evenly over four years. The reduction in funding for next year will be up to 8.9 percent for some councils.

Some 36 councils face the maximum 8.9 percent cut. They include Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Newham, Manchester, Rochdale, Knowsley, Liverpool, St Helens, Doncaster and South Tyneside—some of the poorest boroughs.

Meanwhile Windsor and Maidenhead, Poole, West Sussex, Wokingham, Richmond upon Thames and Buckinghamshire will all have cuts of less than 1 percent.

The GMB union estimates that nearly 74,000 jobs have been cut or are threatened across England, Wales and Scotland since the government’s spending review in October.

Labour councils like Rhondda Cynon Taff in South Wales and Barnsley in Yorkshire are also looking to cut workers’ pay.

The Tories are using cuts to drive through privatisation and outsourcing of services under the guise of the “Big Society”.


Localism

Under plans in the Tories’ Localism Bill there will be a “community right to buy” libraries and council-run leisure centres.

Wealthy individuals and private businesses who can raise the necessary funds will run them—and will look to make a profit.

We must build the growing anti-cuts movement that is springing up across Britain and systematically mobilise for strikes by council workers.


Birmingham refuse workers

Refuse workers in Birmingham were set to escalate their dispute with the council.

The Unite and GMB unions were set to start industrial action on Thursday 16 December and strike on Monday 20 December.

The council wants to impose pay cuts of up to £4,000 a year.

It appears to be hiring hundreds of agency staff to break any strike.


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Article information

News
Tue 14 Dec 2010, 17:30 GMT
Issue No. 2232
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