Building a political alternative to the Tory and Labor cuts

Demonstration outside Newham Town Hall against another round of draconian cuts by the Labor Council

Newham resists cuts

Newham Resists have agreed to campaign for a no cut, needs a budget to show there is an alternative to the Labor Council that passes Tory austerity. Newham Resists is a new coalition.

40 people came to the November 27 meeting from campaigns across the borough, including Friends of Queens Market, Stop the Silvertown Tunnel and Save Durning Hall. There were campaigners against the Sphere in Stratford, campaigners against parking fees and disability rights campaigners.

Newham Socialist Labor – suspended Labor Party members in East Ham and West Ham – and the Green Party were also present.

27,000 people are on the waiting list for accommodation in Newham. The borough has the largest number of people in temporary accommodation in London – 7,000 are children. The council’s only “solution” is to create 1,000 new social housing units by 2022.

Poverty

Newham’s child poverty levels are over 50%, but services for young people have been cut, including the closure of a vital arts centre, Stratford Circus. The council voted further cuts of £24.9m and a 4.99% council tax increase in its 2021-22 budget.

Newham has had a huge funding shortfall, so this budget would be just the start. We need to build the campaign to get the necessary funding from the central government.

At the Newham Resists meeting, Socialist Party members raised the need for an election challenge without cuts in May. Steve Hedley, deputy general secretary of the transport union RMT, said: ‘We have been beaten time and time again in this borough because we haven’t issued a challenge…we have to think about pitting people against these people’ . Newham Resists agreed to continue discussing whether to support this strategy.

Ferdy Lyons

Save our services in Surrey

Save Our Services in Surrey has appealed for anti-cuts candidates. On November 22, we had our first face-to-face meeting in about two years.

We received a message of solidarity from the Fire Brigade Union (FBU). The good turnout of activists from the public sector union Unison was particularly gratifying. A reporter from the local newspaper was also present.

We endorsed the decision to hold a ‘people’s assembly’ in Surrey next summer to develop a local people’s budget.

This would be a needs budget, based on contributions from unions and community groups. It will be an anti-austerity, anti-cuts and anti-privatization budget.

We will use the People’s Budget as a manifesto to encourage trade unionists and community activists to consider running for local office.

Surrey County Unison has already passed a motion agreeing to circulate all of its 5,000 members asking for volunteers to come forward. As a first step, Save Our Services will hold a planning meeting in January to get the ball rolling.

Paul Couchman

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