Branch Secretary :

Workers politics: supporting anti cuts candidates

“Conference agrees that Unite must now adopt a policy calling on Labour Councils to set legal, balanced no cuts needs based budgets.”


“Conference agrees that Unite must now adopt a policy calling on Labour Councils to set legal, balanced no cuts needs based budgets.” This sentence, taken from the recent anti-cuts resolution which was passed unanimously at Unite's policy conference in October last year was reinforced by the Unite housing workers branch at their January bench meeting.


Needs based budget


The branch passed a resolution which commits us to write to every Labour candidate and elected representative to ensure that they agree to adopt this uncompromising approach to cuts in services and jobs. That means not simply opposing the cuts in words but in deeds. This means Labour councils and councillors not simply blaming the Tories for cuts but joining together in fighting austerity, refusing to implement cuts were in power and identifying an alternative "needs based budget" around which we can campaign where Labour is in opposition.


Resources available


It is estimated that Local authorities will implement £1.3bn worth of cuts in next year. Whether the jobs of our members are directly threatened or not we are all affected by the cuts. Many of our member's jobs are dependent on local authority contracts and unless there is a concerted, organised fight back it is clear that councils will seek to pass on the cuts to their outsourced services as well.


Some Labour representatives argue that as the revenue to local authorities has been cut councils have no alternative other than to implement these cuts. Unite utterly refutes this false choice. We also reject the argument that there are no resources available. Local authorities in London alone have seen their joint reserves increase by £1.2bn over the last year. General reserves held by Labour councils throughout England and Wales stands at £15.32bn, there is £2.07bn in their housing revenue accounts and £2.59bn in the usable capital receipts reserves. 


Prepared to sack our members


Labour authorities could coordinate their efforts to fight to resist cuts, they do not have to implement them. These huge sums of money could be used to prevent the need for any further austerity so don't let anyone tell you that the money isn't there as these figures show clearly that the money is there! This is why the Unite housing workers branch is supporting Sharon Graham's call for those Labour representatives who are not prepared to support their trade union brothers and sisters to stand aside for those who will. Unite cannot afford to waste our members' money and good will in supporting our political representatives who are prepared to sack our members and dispense with essential local services.


Powerful political campaign


The Unite housing workers branch is keen to maximise the support for our anti-cuts strategy which is why we are calling on members to stand for election as councillors if they support the idea of setting no cuts, needs based budgets. We also confirm our commitment to any Labour representative who is disciplined by the Labour party for refusing to vote for cuts.


We recognise that using reserves and borrowing facilities alone will not defeat the cuts alone, but it will certainly give us the breathing space to develop a powerful political campaign throughout the UK to prevent further cuts this year. It will also show what can be achieved politically and give huge confidence to workers and trade unions in building a movement that places public need and workers welfare above private profit.


Not enough


As Sharon Graham put it. "We know that central government is not giving councils the money they need. But it is not enough for councillors to shrug their shoulders and pass the buck. Local authorities can agree balanced, legal budgets that do not make cuts. It is perfectly possible for them to use their reserves and borrowing powers to plug gaps while at the same time campaigning for adequate central government funding to safeguard council services. I would like to see my union at the heart of integrated campaigns inside communities, fighting for better services and giving council workers the proper pay rise they deserve."


Nick Auvache 16 January 2022

Comments :

I whole heartedly agree that labour counsellers should be against cuts and should not be blaming other parties (Torries) Staff are already struggling, cuts will only increase this pressure on all.

By Emma kirkland on 2022-02-03 19:50:37

No labour council should be hiding behind the torrid and allowing these cuts to happen, many of our members have year after year doing more for less, continuous cuts leds to redesigns but redesigns is just another name for staff doing more for less their well being is being effected dramatically

By Mishelle Gray on 2022-02-03 19:54:13


By Kenny Armstrong on 2022-02-03 20:22:07

Housing Officers are on their knees with all the extra work that is put on them. We are going through transformation with Aberdeen City Council now having to do a 2 for 1 job with no extra money. Either take the job or get out! Please stand up for us front line workers we are worth more!

By Alison on 2022-02-03 20:25:46

This bunch of incompetent fools governing Great Britain today should hold their heads in shame. The country is in a shambolic state tax hikes energy hikes Mortgage hikes pay freeze for most LGP employees what a mess.But Boris is telling us we have never had it so good. Considering we are governd be a bunch of piss heads no surprises there.

By Joe on 2022-02-03 21:05:22


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