Councils across Britain are proposing deep new cuts at their annual budget-setting meetings—and anti-austerity protests are popping up in response.
Around 50 council workers protested during their lunch break last week against cuts proposed by the Scottish National Party-controlled Clackmannanshire Council in Alloa.
The workers protested outside the council headquarters over the impact of the cuts on the wages and conditions of council employees.
In Gateshead last Saturday people marched to save public sector jobs and services including libraries, leisure centres, older people’s services and mental health services.
Gateshead Council, controlled by Labour, is ramming through £46 million cuts over the next two years.
Campaigners in Milton Keynes were set to stage a protest against the council’s £22 million service cuts on Wednesday of next week from 6pm.
The town’s Citizens Advice Bureau now faces closure after earlier cuts outsourced its statutory duty to help people.
A homeless shelter is also being slashed.
Following the successful launch of a coalition to defend Glasgow’s care services, activists have called for a protest at a council budget meeting on Thursday of next week.
The impact of the Labour-run council’s service closures and cuts for people with mental health problems, learning disabilities and the elderly has provoked outrage.
The Unison union plans a lobby of North Somerset Council’s budget meeting next week over 18 job cuts, outsourcing 120 staff to a private contractor and a reduction in overtime pay. The council also plans to outsource 52 Home Start care workers next year.
Leeds City Council is “at the brink of financial meltdown” as it weathers “near-impossible” cuts to its spending, its leader has warned.
Campaigners say ordinary people will bear the brunt of a £45.4 million cut to the council’s budget. Leeds trades council has called a protest on Wednesday 25 February from 12 noon.
‘Smart’ council rallies against its own cuts
Manchester’s Labour council launched an unusual protest against the cuts last week.
About 100 of its supporters gathered outside the town hall on Tuesday to show their outrage over the cuts.
Others were there to protest against the use of contractor G4S.
Speaker after speaker denounced the effects of the cuts on public services in Manchester.
Then in a “Hong Kong style” “smart rally”, they got out their phones to condemn the cuts in a collective tweet to Tory David Cameron.
But they avoided the word “austerity”. They opposed Tory cuts, not cuts in principle.
And they are currently preparing to slash £59 million.
This is Labour in action—tweets in opposition, cuts in practice.