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Friday 10 December 2021

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Vote for a socialist recovery from the Covid crisis! TUSC core policies for May's elections

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) All-Britain Steering Committee has now published the draft of the core policies TUSC candidates will be committed to fight for in the English local council elections that will take place in May 2022.

TUSC is an electoral coalition, offering the opportunity to trade unionists, community campaigners, socialists and others, to stand candidates under a common anti-austerity banner distinct from the mainstream, capitalist establishment politicians.

Having such an alternative on offer in May's contests, in which over 6,500 council seats will be elected, is even more vital in a situation where the establishment parties are united in seeking to make working class people pay for the effects of the Covid crisis, through cuts in public services, wages freezes, and rising prices and taxes. Local councils are responsible for over one fifth of all public spending.

A minimum commitment

The TUSC core policies are the minimum basis on which someone can stand as a TUSC candidate rather than appearing on the ballot paper as 'Independent' - the only legal alternative if you are not endorsed by a registered political party - which doesn't say whether a candidate supports austerity and cuts or not.

The individual candidates and different organisations who do decide to use the TUSC name and logo will almost certainly campaign for and promote far more issues than those covered in the core policies, which their individual election material will explain.

But they will all fight to implement the core policies. Voters will know the minimum they can expect from any councillor elected under the TUSC banner.

TUSC conference on February 6th

The core policies platform below, agreed by the TUSC steering committee at its November 2021 meeting, is still a draft document, now out for discussion within the different component parts of TUSC before final adoption.

This will include a discussion of the platform at the TUSC local elections conference, to be held on zoom on Sunday 6th February, from 11am to 1-30pm. Zoom details will be published on the Events page on the TUSC website nearer the time.

Comments on the draft platform are welcome from the constituent organisations and local TUSC groups for circulation prior to the conference - and also from individuals and organisations not yet participating in TUSC - and can be sent to the TUSC National Election Agent, Clive Heemskerk, at [email protected] to be received by Monday 31st January.

Draft core policy platform for the May 2022 local elections

Vote for a socialist recovery from the Covid crisis!

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) has a policy platform for the May 2022 local elections which every candidate using the TUSC name on the ballot paper is committed to fight for in the council chamber if they are elected. These ten core policies are listed below. But this policy platform is a minimum, not a limit to the issues that TUSC candidates will be campaigning for in their communities.

TUSC is an inclusive umbrella alliance, enabling fighting trade unionists, working class community campaigners, social movement activists, and socialists in different parties or none, to stand together in elections under a common name and logo on the ballot paper, while preserving their own identities and ability to highlight any particular policies and issues that they may wish to campaign on.

TUSC candidates are there linking up with those taking action against climate change; workers in any sector fighting for a pay rise like the NHS workers campaigning for 15%; women combating street harassment; housing campaigners fighting evictions; and anti-racism activists, to name but a few.

TUSC councillors would be at the heart of any struggle that is a step towards a society in which people can enjoy life to its fullest without the fear of unemployment, homelessness, poverty and discrimination.

But there has to be a defined 'bottom line' before somebody can use the TUSC name and logo on the ballot paper and the core policies are that - an absolutely unequivocal commitment to resist the austerity measures that we know are coming from the pro-big business establishment politicians seeking to pass the costs of the Covid crisis onto the working class.

TUSC stands for a socialist recovery from the Covid crisis. So somebody who will not pledge that if they are elected they will go into the council chamber and vote against cuts, closures, privatisation and other austerity politics cannot be a TUSC candidate. None of the establishment parties require that from their candidates but we do.

TUSC is an inclusive umbrella, not an exclusive one, available to be used by every working class fighter prepared to stand up to the capitalist establishment politicians at the ballot box. Every trade unionist, anti-cuts campaigner, community activist and all those who want to see an alternative to austerity politicians can become a TUSC candidate. But voters should know that any councillor elected under the TUSC banner will:

  • Oppose all cuts and closures to council services, jobs, pay and conditions. We reject the claim that 'some cuts' are necessary to our services or that the Covid crisis is a reason for attacks on working class people's living standards.
  • Support all workers' struggles against government policies making ordinary people pay for the crisis - no to fire and rehire.
  • Fight for united working class struggle against racism, sexism and all forms of oppression.
  • Use councils' powers to begin a mass building programme of eco-friendly affordable council homes to tackle the housing crisis.
  • Fight for local Climate Emergency plans based on genuine democratic debate that create new employment, reduce emissions and improve air quality and the local environment, whilst protecting the jobs, pay and conditions of all workers.
  • Reject council tax, rent and service charge increases for working class people to make up for cuts in central funding, support a redistributive revenue raising system to finance local council services, and demand central government restores the cuts in funding it has imposed.
  • Vote against the privatisation of council jobs and services, or the transfer of existing council services to social enterprises or 'arms-length' management organisations which are the first steps to their privatisation.
  • 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 whatever powers councils retain to refer local NHS decisions, and to initiate referenda and organise public commissions and consultations in campaigns to defend public services.
  • Refuse to co-operate with commissioners sent by central government to attempt to impose cuts on local services.
  • Vote for councils to refuse to implement austerity. TUSC councillors 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 defend and improve council services is to set a budget that meets the needs of the local community and demand that government funding makes up the shortfall.