Tower Hamlets TUSC in joint anti-cuts campaign with Independent councillors
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) in Tower Hamlets is hosting a joint meeting with the Tower Hamlets Independent Group, the main opposition group on Tower Hamlets council, to draw up plans for an anti-cuts People's Budget for the East London borough.
The meeting is at 7pm on Thursday 14 January at the Alpha Grove Community Centre, Alpha Grove, E14 8LH (see http://www.tusc.org.uk/17155/17-12-2015/tower-hamlets-peoples-budget-meeting).
A PDF of the joint leaflet produced by TUSC and the Tower Hamlets Independent Group can be downloaded at http://www.tusc.org.uk/txt/352.pdf
The Blairite-dominated Tower Hamlets Labour council is proposing a list of cuts to local public services which seems tailor made to hit the worst off and most vulnerable.
In one of the youngest boroughs in the country, with overcrowding that even the council admits has gone back to the level of the 1930s, the directly-elected executive Mayor John Biggs is proposing to cut ¬£200,000 from child and adolescent mental health services. Then there is the ¬£700,000 cut to youth services and ending the Sunday opening of the borough's Ideas Stores (¬£93,000).
Many of the cuts, such as scrapping free homecare for the elderly ('saving' ¬£540,000), are directly political, aimed at the previous administration who had managed to keep free homecare, making Tower Hamlets the only council in the country still to offer this.
But none of these cuts are necessary. Tower Hamlets council has been hit by the Tory government's cut to local council funding. It is proposing cuts of ¬£17.8 million in this year's budget to be followed by further cuts in future years. Yet Tower Hamlets still has general reserves of ¬£71 million inherited from the previous administration in June 2015.
The Labour council is in an ideal position to use some of these reserves to fight the cuts and join with other councils in London and nationally to demand proper funding from the government. But they seem intent instead on doing the dirty work of the Tories.
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is arguing for no-cuts budgets to be put forward, using borrowing and reserves, as part of building a mass campaign to defend jobs and services and end the attacks on our local public services.