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Friday 25 March 2016

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TUSC councillor challenges Labour call to use public funds for pro-EU propaganda

Warrington's Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) councillor Kevin Bennett has challenged a call by the town's leading Labour Party spokespeople for the council to use public resources to produce an allegedly 'independent, politically neutral analysis' of EU membership ahead of the June referendum.

The leader of the Labour-controlled council, Terry O'Neill, who will be campaigning for a Remain vote in June, was quoted in the local Warrington Guardian as saying "we need to educate people" on the benefits of EU membership, showing how any 'impact assessment' organised by the council would be skewed from the start.

The head of the business group Warrington First backed Labour's call, arguing that "the public are being asked to comment about the future of the economic strategy of the UK" but "without the requisite information available to take a balanced view".

Responding to the idea of pro-EU 'propaganda on the rates' Kevin Bennett said: "The cost of this would be far better spent on securing the future of our services and also the Warrington YMCA, which faces closure before the EU referendum takes place, thanks to the cuts and expenses-grabbing culture of the Labour council leadership, supported by the local Tories.

"The reality is that the price for continued EU membership will be paid for by our public services. Labour blamed the EU when they moved to put Royal Mail up for sale; under EU rules it's illegal to take our postal service back into public hands. So workers at the Warrington Royal Mail depot continue to pay that price.

"The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) treaty being negotiated between the EU and the US means privatisation of all public services, especially our National Health Service. This means the EU and the British government 'flogging off' the likes of Warrington Hospital to American multinationals, with the price being paid by the hard-working staff there and the patients who rely on them.

"In the EU or out of it, all the main parties have gone along with unending cuts to living standards, benefits, wages and services. That's why I and TUSC are implacably opposed to all so-called 'austerity', whether it comes from Brussels, Strasbourg, Westminster, or the town hall!

"We stand in solidarity with the people of Greece, who have paid for EU membership with a colossal cut in their incomes, and the 99% across Britain and Europe who deserve a far better future than that on offer from Cameron, Merkel, or any of the other establishment politicians who seek only to line the pockets of the super-rich 1%".