Sunday, 1 February 2015

Fighting Cuts in the Snow

Protesters stood for hours outside Cardiff's City Hall as snow gusted about them, but it was the Councillors, arriving for the last full council meeting before the budget is set in February, who got the frostiest reception.

TUSC supporters joined Cardiff Against The Cuts and a host of other campaigners, including from Howardian Youth Music Centre, Community Action for Rumney Library, Save Channel View Leisure and others.

Library campaigners from Rumney were amongst the angriest. Despite local councillor Jacqui Parry promising "Rumney Libray would close over my dead body," both Rumney councillors voted against motions that would have scrapped the library closures this year.

Labour councillors have correctly pointed out that Tory Councillor and prospective parliamentary candidate for Cardiff North, Craig Williams, who proposed the motion, could hardly have been relied upon to defend council services from cuts if his party was in power in Cardiff. But if Labour councillors couldn't bring themselves to vote for a Tory motion they could have proposed their own, or backed the motion from Rhiwbina Independents. Labour has completely failed to demonstrate that there are any meaningful differences between them and either the Tories in government or the previous Liberal and Plaid Cymru coalition.

There is no opposition to the cuts demanded by the Tories and Liberals in Westminster from either the Labour-run Welsh Assembly or the Labour-run Council in Cardiff. Cardiff Council has obediently cut £83 million worth of jobs and services, but by 2017 they want to more than double that figure, adding another £125 million more cuts. This year's budget plans as they stand include the privatisation of all leisure services, ending meals on wheels for most people who currently have them, closing all day centres for the elderly, sacking more social workers (when the previous Liberal/Plaid Council and the current Labour Council have between them already cut a quarter of all social services staff in the last five years) and increasing the workload for those who remain, closing of seven libraries if volunteers can't be found to replace the paid workers and the further gutting of Cardiff Central Library. Another £5.7 million will be cut from out of a workforce which Unison says has already lost 18% of their real pay in the last four years.

What's the alternative? TUSC councillors would propose a needs budget - setting the funding at the level determined by what is necessary to fund the services we need, not by what the government thinks it can get away with fiving. TUSC councillors would be campaigning councillors, fighting for the funding we require to save jobs and services. Cardiff Council doesn't have to cut services back when the government demands it. They're sitting on a cash pile of reserves that is £41 million high, and they have powers to borrow £million more. They should use that cash to plug the gap between what the government has given us this year and what need to save all services, and spend the year building a campaign for more funding, calling for and link up with similar campaigns in the rest of Wales and Britain.


TUSC fully supports all the campaigners who are fighting to keep their communities together by trying to save the facilities and services those communities they rely on. We'll be outside City for the BIG ONE - the budget protest called by Cardiff Against the Cuts on Thursday 26th February at 330pm. You should be there too!



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