Letter: Rochdale TUC open letter to Richard Farnell and ward councillors
Date published: 27 September 2017
Britain’s snap general election delivered a major political blow to Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative government.
The outcome was the product of an outpouring of anti-Tory sentiment among millions of workers and youth and anger over the devastating consequences of endless austerity, the relentless decline in wages, cuts in welfare benefits and the destruction of essential social services.
This produced the surge in support for the Labour Party under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, which saw Labour’s vote share increase by 10 percent and come within two percent of the Tories’ 42 percent total. Among the younger generations, two thirds of those aged 18–24 voted Labour and more than half of those aged 25–34.
The government’s austerity cuts are widely seen as a political choice not an economic necessity. It is critically important therefore in the run up to the local government elections in May 2018 that we pin the blame for the cuts in local government services squarely on the government, which is causing them.
That is why we need urgently to build a national campaign and to work alongside Labour councils to mobilise local campaigns to demonstrate the devastating impact of this government’s cuts to local council spending.
Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Trades Union Council wishes to work with the Rochdale Labour Council in forging strong alliances with local community campaigners, council staff that are under stress as a result of Tory spending cuts, local citizens and others in defending local services.
No doubt you will already be considering with your Labour Group exactly how best to expose the Conservative government’s destructive fiscal strategy.
Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Trades Union Council calls upon the local Labour Group of councillors to respond positively to Labour’s general election results by:
1. Confirming that the government’s austerity cuts are a political choice not an economic necessity and therefore it is the government that is to blame for the cuts in local authority services.
2. Exposing publicly how the cuts in government funding for this local authority have and will impact on services and the quality of life for local citizens.
3. Working with the local TUC and CLP’s to call all Labour Party members in this local authority area to a meeting or meetings to discuss action to mobilise support for a local needs plan and budget campaign to win more government funds for our local authority.
4. Calling a conference of representatives of all local community and campaigning groups, together with the trades unions representing the workers that deliver council services and local TUC and trade union branches that represent organised employees working in the area, to seek agreement and action in support of the demand for more financial resources from Central Government.
5. To link up with all the other campaigns against government cuts, such as health, education, social care, housing, Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) and the Pensioners Action Group
6. Holding public meetings in every local authority ward, with platforms of councillors, trade unionists and community organisation spokespeople to mobilise public support for the campaign against the government cuts.
7. Opening up all council policy areas and committees to representation from community groups and activists to discuss with councillors the options available to meet the needs of our citizens.
8. To seek coordination with other Labour councillors’ groups in the campaign for more financial resources
9. By such actions the local TUC, Labour councillors and Constituency Labour Parties will mobilise local citizens to oppose the Tory government and prepare the way for Labour success in the elections ahead.
Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Trades Council
The views expressed are those of the author of the letter and not those of Rochdale Online.