The founding meeting of Powys Uncut showed the Alice in Wonderland nature of Local Government in Powys. A Labour and a Tory councillor agreed that the cuts budget which is put forward by a cabinet formed from one of Powys' ruling Independent groups was unacceptable and should be opposed.
Seriously, over eighty people from all over Powys met in Llandrindod on a very wet night to organise opposition to the proposed £20million in cuts, which will go a long way to destroying our services. People were particularly angry about the so-called 'consultative' questionnaire which asked us to say which services should be cut. Some people were particularly worried by the threat that schools for children with special needs could be closed.
Although called by NUT members, there were representatives from GMB, UNITE and UNISON at the meeting. Speaking from the platform, the NUT Wales President pointed out the dangers to our children's education. This was echoed by a speaker from a campaign which had failed to stop a school in north Powys being closed. A UNISON regional organiser echoed that theme. Unfortunately his only solution was that we should 'Fight to remove the ConDem Government' – leaving aside the fact that by the time this could happen, the cuts would already have been made and that, in any case, the Labour leadership had stated that they wouldn't reverse any cuts. People were interested when I raised the Carmarthen UNISON Alternative Budget (but not the UNISON officials present).
The meeting agreed to set up a website and a Facebook page, to spread publicity leaflets around Powys about the true nature of the cuts, to contact all Councillors and to meet again in February to organise a big lobby of the Council Budget meeting on March 5th. It was a good start, but there is a very long way to go to stop the massacre of our services.
Geoff Jones, Llanelli and West Wales Socialist Party
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