Dear John Duffy and other disenfranchised Labour Group councillors
We are writing to you in relation to recent press reports that some of you have felt excluded from the decision making process in the preparation of the Brent Council budget for 2015-16 to be voted on at the full council meeting on the 2nd March 2015. Councillor John Duffy was quoted in the Kilburn Times on 19th February as saying in a letter that budget cuts have been made “without the endorsement of the Labour Group”, adding “We as a Labour group haven’t decided the budget. Cllr Michael Pavey (the council’s deputy leader) has decided it and won’t allow us to amend anything.”
Considering the cuts included in this budget amount to £54million over next 2 years we call on you to demonstrate your dissatisfaction, oppose this budget and vote against it in the budget meeting on the 2nd March. While TUSC does not support the raising of council taxes to meet funding gaps left by cuts to central government funding we do oppose all cuts and austerity and feel that if Labour councillors vote against this budget it would signal the start of resistance in the council chamber. This would strengthen those who are already engaged in campaigns heroically resisting the cuts and offer those suffering from them some hope of an end to austerity in Brent.
TUSC believes the right response to Con/Dem austerity in Brent instead of passing cuts onto the residents of Brent would be for the Labour council to set a “needs” budget based on what is required to meet Brent residents and workers needs. This should then be the launch point for a huge campaign involving Trade Unions, Campaigners, Tenants, Councillors, MP’s etc. to lobby the government to meet that budget and provide extra funds needed. This campaign could link up with other councils resisting austerity around the country to present the government with a united front to further cuts.
TUSC refutes the idea that austerity is needed at all. As we see huge financial resources exist amongst the elite and wealthy corporations. Daily we hear about the continuing corruption which exists amongst the financial, banking and political sector and the super-rich continue to get richer. It was these financial powers who mismanaged their affairs to a point where they almost collapsed and tax payer’s money was used to bail them out. Now we are paying again with the dismantling of health, education and all other vital public services creating a nightmare existence for many people now and for the future generations to come.
TUSC in Brent stood in last year’s local elections on this programme and received good votes for a small, new party. In Harlesden ward we even beat the government coalition parties. I will be standing as TUSC candidate for Brent Central in the coming general election along with 100 other candidates throughout the country committed to opposing all austerity cuts and privatisation.
In different parts of the country Labour rebels have linked up with TUSC, in particular we are very happy locally to be working alongside former Labour mayor of Harrow Nana Asante. We urge you to join us in standing up to this government’s cynical attempt to privatise, cut and dismantle local councils. Start by opposing the Budget proposed by the Brent council Labour leadership on the 2nd March and we can work together in future to maximise resistance to Austerity. Brent TUSC will be joining the lobby of this meeting waiting and watching for your response.
John Boyle -Brent TUSC prospective parliamentary candidate for Brent central constituency