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Friday 17 February 2017

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Another UNISON branch backs 'no cuts budget' strategy to defend council services

Leicester City UNISON branch has become the latest local government trade union body to present an alternative No Cuts Budget proposal to its local council.

Like other council union branches that have taken the same stance (see for example http://www.tusc.org.uk/17325/10-01-2017/carmarthenshire-unison-shows-the-way-on-fighting-council-cuts), the report submitted by Leicester UNISON is based on the strategy that the council should use its reserves and borrowing powers to refuse to make cuts today in order to allow it to build support for a campaign to reverse the national cuts to local authority funding.

"In proposing this 'no cuts' budget", they write, "we acknowledge that this would be a one-off budget that could not be repeated in three years' time". But jobs and services could be protected now, buying time to build support for a campaign, including linking with other Labour-controlled councils.

This is a strategy that has been pioneered by the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition and has recently received favourable coverage even in a mainstream media outlet, The Independent (see http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/pmqs-labour-councils-sweetheart-deal-surrey-theresa-may-austerity-a7571156.html).

The UNISON branch's budget submission has been set out in a newsletter, available as a PDF at http://www.tusc.org.uk/txt/395.pdf

Also available online is the TUSC briefing document, Preparing a No Cuts People's Budget, at http://www.tusc.org.uk/txt/355.pdf, and a model letter to Labour councillors asking them to join the anti-cuts resistance at http://www.tusc.org.uk/txt/389.pdf .

A lobby of the Leicester council budget-making meeting has been called for Wednesday 22nd February, from 4pm.