local community

local community

Vote Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

15m ago
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2014 local elections policy platform Posted: 3 March 2014 Councillors can make a difference... But only if they are prepared to fight The Con-Dems' systematic dismantling of the welfare state has put the very existence of local council services at risk. The Labour leader of Birmingham council, Britain's biggest local authority, has spoken of the 'end of local government'. Even the Tory chair of the Local Government Association has hypocritically warned that the funding squeeze on councils is 'unsustainable'. But it is not true that councils can do nothing but accept the government's attacks. They still control billions of pounds of public services and have powers they could use to resist. Councillors have a choice. They can make a difference and take steps to improve the lives of millions of people - but only if they are prepared to fight. The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) has agreed a policy platform, outlined below, to contest local council elections in 2014 which, if adopted by just a handful of councils, could make a difference. Even one councillor in each local authority arguing for the policies we outline, if they used their position in the council chamber to appeal to those outside, could give confidence to trade unionists and community campaigners to fight. This platform is the basis on which any prospective council candidate who wishes to can stand under the TUSC name in local council elections. We encourage every trade unionist, anti-cuts campaigner, community activist and all those who want to see an alternative to the establishment parties to become a TUSC candidate. The local election platform is a supplement to the core policy statement that TUSC candidates endorsed when they stood in the general election in May 2010, which still stands as the national policy position of the TUSC coalition. All TUSC councillors will: • Oppose all cuts to council jobs, services, pay and conditions. We reject the claim that 'some cuts' are necessary to our services or that the national debt is a reason for austerity. • Refuse to implement the Bedroom Tax. Councils should write off all bedroom tax-related arrears, withdraw all court proceedings and eviction orders where the bedroom tax has been a factor, and call on Housing Associations to do the same. • Support all workers' struggles against the cuts, privatisation and the government's policy of making ordinary people pay for the crisis caused by the bankers and the bosses. Defend the national collective bargaining arrangements for council workers. • Reject increases in council tax, rent and service charges to compensate for government cuts. • Vote against the privatisation of council jobs and services, or the transfer of council services to 'social enterprises' or 'arms-length' management organisations, which are first steps to privatisation. • Oppose racism and fascism and stand up for equality for all. • Use all the legal powers available to councils to oppose both the cuts and government policies which centrally impose the transfer of public services to private bodies. This includes using councils' powers to refer local NHS decisions, initiate referenda and organise public commissions and consultations in campaigns to defend public services. • Campaign for the introduction of a Living Wage above the minimum wage, including for council employees and those working for council contractors. • Vote for councils to refuse to implement the cuts. We will support councils which in the first instance use their reserves and prudential borrowing powers to avoid making cuts. But we argue that the best way to mobilise the mass campaign that is necessary to defeat the dismantling of council services is to set a budget that meets the needs of the local community and demands that the government makes up the shortfall. • Support action against climate change and for a future where sustainability comes before profit.