Anti-cuts, public services

Editorials - March 1995

Editorial comments on the ongoing influence of Stalinism in the British labour movement, the need for a campaign to defend the welfare state, and calling for justice for Mumia Abu-Jamal.

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Questions and answers on the cuts

Stop the cuts

Author: 

Martin Thomas

Q. The Lib/Tory coalition says that the government just has to make social cuts, in the same way as anyone who has "maxed out" their credit cards needs to cut back. Is that true?

A. No. In the first place, there is nothing impossible about the government continuing with a large budget deficit for a while. Governments can't "run out of money" in the same way that households or businesses can.

The "case" for the cuts is built on lies!

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Tories seek mandate to increase cuts, inequality, poverty

Author: 

Martin Thomas

“Mrs May”, writes the Tory-leaning columnist of the Financial Times, Janan Ganesh, “could not survive an election campaign saying so little so often if people paid attention”. Since so many don’t, “the repetition of slogans in lieu of answers carries no cost”. Fraser Nelson, another Tory, comments in the Spectator: “She seems to think that, if you refuse to give the press anything, the public won’t care. Worse, she seems to be right – for now, at least”. May’s purpose, so Nelson writes, is not to “seek a mandate”, but to evade one.

The Daily Mail front page headline on 19 April summed up how Theresa May sees the election serving her Brexit drive: “Crush the saboteurs”. That is, strengthen her position against all who ask questions, raise criticisms, demand information.

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Worse school cuts than Thatcher

Author: 

Patrick Murphy, NUT Executive (personal capacity) and Richard Driver (North London teacher)

The Government’s claim that there is no school funding crisis seems, finally, to be losing all credibility. In December the NUT launched a website which allows anyone in England or Wales to enter their postcode and identify instantly the likely funding losses faced by their local schools in the next three years and how many teachers would need to be removed to meet those cuts.

The far-reaching reform that is needed in schools, to move away from a data-driven state of permanent testing towards teaching and learning with the personal growth and self-fulfilment of students at its heart, demands good levels of funding, paid for by society’s richest.

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Labour should fight cuts, not manage them

Author: 

Will Sefton and Charlotte Zalens

Local authorities are currently putting the final touches to budgets for 2017-18, which will herald another round of swingeing cuts across the UK. These cuts follow £20 billion cuts to the core government grant made between 2010 and 2015, a 40% real-terms reduction.

A new system of funding based on the retention of Business Rates (NNDR), the tax levied on the basis of the value of business premises, is set to completely replace the block grant. A trial of the scheme involving several councils in the North West and Midlands is set to begin from April.

Both Corbyn and McDonnell know a radical anti-austerity Labour government would face huge challenges in reversing the government’s austerity programme, but they must take a lead now and back the labour movement in fighting back to defend and extend local services.

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The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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No refuge in Sunderland

Author: 

Gemma Short

Sunderland may become the first major UK city without any domestic violence refuges for women.

Local charity Wearside Women in Need have been told by Sunderland council they will have their funding cut. The charity warns it won’t be able to continue running their four refuges, accommodating 173 women and 107 children. They also provide the only specialised service in the north east for black women and can provide accommodation for women with severe disabilities.

Sunderland council says it must cut £74 million by 2020, and despite claiming no decisions have been made yet, has told Wearside Women in Need that the £568,000 currently provided will end by June 2017.

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Industrial news in brief

Swedish dockers defend union rights; Durham TAs strike; support Picturehouse workers; Southern guards fight on; Barnet librarians strike.

On 8 November, the Dockworkers’ Union started industrial action, including a ban on overtime, at the Gothenburg terminal which handles 60% of Sweden’s container trade. It has also called for a blockade on traffic redirected from Gothenburg.

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Southern: This Is War

In the history of workers' struggles in the early 20th century, and occasionally since, the term "labour war" has been used to describe an industrial dispute that reaches an almost military pitch. Such disputes saw workers mount armed pickets, to defend their strikes against the police, right-wing paramilitaries, or armed strike-breakers hired by management.

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Lots of “old” cuts still to come

Author: 

Colin Foster

Theresa May’s Tory government has said that it will decide no new welfare cuts. What makes this a half-truth, or even an outright untruth, is that big cuts, maybe even bigger cuts than the government can realistically manage, have already been programmed by previous Tory decisions.

Theresa May’s government has said there will be no new welfare cuts, but big cuts have already been programmed by previous Tory decisions.

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Gemma Short, Luke Hardy, Peggy Carter, Ollie Moore, Charlotte Zalens and Neil Laker

Workers at Pennine Foods in Sheffield have suspended their strikes after negotiations meant bosses agreed not to implement changes to their contracts. Negotiations also got bosses to agree to all employees receiving a lump sum for their 2015 pay rise. Negotiations will continue on the contract and further strikes are not ruled out. The contract changes at Pennine Foods were in order for bosses to try to recoup some of the money from implementing the government′s new ″living wage″.

Bosses dodge “living wage”; Camden teachers striking to stop job cuts; bosses make £11m profit, workers get 16p; cleaners fight back against sackings; ScotRail guards vote for strikes; Durham County Council sacks all teaching assistants; Capita workers strike over pay cuts.

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