England, Wales and Scotland section of International Socialist Alternative

Angry protest against Coventry Council cuts to vital services

By Coventry Socialist Alternative

Tuesday saw a lively protest against Labour-run Coventry City Council plans to slash support for vital services in our city. Across lunch time, around 100 people took part prior to the council meeting that took the decision to pass on cuts to residents and staff. 

Many of those had come to make their feelings known on the issue of funding being slashed for the Coventry Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre (CRASAC). Speaker after speaker at the protest gave incredibly moving reports of how CRASAC had literally kept them alive and provided vital support for survivors. It is truly shameful how Coventry City Council are treating this lifeline for many women in the area. 

There were also trade unions represented including from Unite, UNISON, NEU, UCU and Coventry TUC. 

Socialist Alternative supported the protest and distributed a leaflet (see below) outlining how these attacks can be fought. One of our members spoke on behalf of the local UNISON branch, outlining the impacts of the cuts and also raising the issue of solidarity with the people of Gaza as they face death and destruction whilst many of our public representatives remain silent. 

The council meeting passed the budget approving the cuts – meaning that unions and local communities will need to step up the campaign against these attacks. We cannot let working class people pay for this crisis – contact us to get involved in the fightback. 

 


 

Socialist Alternative leaflet

Coventry Labour Council plans cuts and attacks
Unions and communities must organise to fight back

Coventry City Council is on the verge of agreeing cuts and hikes in charges that will impact staff and working class communities across our city.

These cuts include (but are not limited to)

  • Slashing Council Tax Support for over 16,000 benefit claimants
  • Reduction in funding to Coventry Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre (CRASAC)
  • 30% increase in school transport charges for children with disabilities
  • Turning off street lighting
  • Cuts in adult education
  • Increasing car parking charges in the city centre
  • A 50% increase in new residents accommodation fees for dementia sufferers. 

The list goes on.

Scandalously, in addition, there are over £11.5 million of planned cuts that have been ‘identified’ by service directors. But so far it has not been communicated what they are!

What are the council doing to get more funding?

Since 2010 Coventry Labour have resisted any serious strategy to resist the cuts from central government and to win back the money stolen from the city by the Tories. They have dutifully implemented every cut and even now, in a joint letter to central government from the Labour council and Tory opposition grouping, their main complaint is that having done everything that the Tories have asked of them, they are disappointed that they haven’t been given more money!

What needs to be done?

The trade unions at the council are in a position to be able to fight this. Strong campaigns, linking up with local communities, could force the employer back.

A public meeting called by GMB, UNISON, Unite, and Coventry TUC and local campaigns could discuss the way forward in the fight against cuts.

Building up our strength in the workplaces with joint union meetings throughout the Local Authority can help build the confidence of existing union members, and help recruit new ones. In a sign of things to come, before Christmas the Council approved plans to fire and rehire staff at Whitley Depot. Therefore, it is crucial that the unions organise and work together against these proposals and ongoing attacks. Combined with campaigns of Coventry residents and service users against cuts, it would be possible to score victories.

Dutifully carrying out Tory cuts – and silent on the plight of the Palestinians

As a minimum, the council could hold off cuts using its substantial reserves whilst linking up with other Local Authorities and trade unions to build a serious campaign to restore funding from the central government. They could also call on the incoming Labour government to commit to increasing the money available for councils and reverse all cuts. Yet Labour show no sign of doing this.

At the same time, as over 70% of the population supports the call for an immediate ceasefire, locally Labour has said not one word about the terrible attacks on the people of Gaza.

What is needed in this situation is a serious discussion towards political organisation of the anti-cuts and anti-war struggle: a new party. One that would link up the fights, whether on the streets or in the workplaces, would fight against the Tory anti-trans and anti-refugee so-called ‘culture wars’, and lead the battle against not just the Tory government, but fight to end Tory policies, both locally and nationally.

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