By Alec Thraves, Swansea Socialist Party
If you want to sneak through £24 million of council cuts next year, call a Cabinet meeting at 10.00 in the morning when most residents are at work, waffle through the ten minutes allowed for public questions and then vote unanimously for the council officers’ latest round of brutal cuts!
Within twenty minutes Swansea Labour’s Cabinet meeting agreed a projected loss next year of 145 teaching posts, 161 council jobs,including 127 from social services and further cuts of £87 million over the next four years. Some departments face a 30% reduction in their budget.
Several non-working Socialist Party members were able to attend the early morning Cabinet meeting to challenge these Labour austerity accomplices who pathetically bleat year after year that “there is nothing we can do” except pass on the Tory cuts.
Incredibly, the council leader, in responding to the devastating affect these cuts are having in Swansea said the £70 million ‘savings’ they had managed so far has “had no impact on services”!
In keeping with the theme of the week a vote of no confidence in Swansea Labour council was also proposed from the public gallery on behalf of residents who are being let down year after year.
Another sham consultation process will now begin and as in previous years residents will only be asked to choose which services should be cut and which should be reduced. Support for mobilizing with other Labour councils in Wales, alongside local government trade unions, teaching unions, parents, residents and community organisations to set a no cuts budget never appears on the council’s questionnaire.
While Socialist Party members vociferously challenged theCabinet, face to face, during public questions it is now increasingly urgent that Unison, with the other local government and teaching trade unions prepare and mobilise their members to oppose compulsory job losses and further cuts to services.