Stopping Cuts to Local Public Services

Earlier this year Leicester City Council “consulted” about their plans to cut funding for maintaining Leicester’s Council owned golf courses. Thousands of people voiced their opposition to these plans with “The vast majority of them [saying] the council should keep subsidising both courses.”

Even those residents of Leicester who did not use the golf courses recognized their broader importance in serving the people of Leicester, with the majority of non-golfers spoken to during the consultation (51%) saying that they were in favour of continuing the subsidies. Nevertheless the Council is now closing Western Parks Golf Course.

Other news this week demonstrated the importance of Council-funded groups banding together when threatened with cuts, and the Leicester Mercury reported: “Leicester City Council U-turn on adventure playgrounds contracts.” In this instance, it seems that because of the playgrounds’ history of collectively organising vibrant protests against planned cuts, the Council has promised not to cut their services. This, like the recent pay victory success of the Trelleborg engineering workers based in Beaumont Leys, clearly demonstrates the importance of coordinated and vocal opposition to the bullying tactics of both the Council and fat-cat bosses.

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Instead of standing firmly opposed to cutting vital public services in Leicester, the Labour Party continue to do the Tories bidding. Thus a recent newspaper report noted how “The city council is looking to save £160,000 a year by reducing the number of jobs its repairs service is responsible for” in the remaining Council houses they own. This in the same week that it was announced that “City council bosses have received a multi-million pound boost after auctioning off a number of unused properties.”

Yet “unused properties” is hardly an apt desciption, as this money came from the sale of buildings formerly used (until very recently) to provide vital community services, like house the elderly for instance — in fact as it turns out most of the money came from the closure and sale of the city’s old peoples homes.

With provision of youth services currently under threat in Braunstone, next in the firing line appears to be the city’s substance misuse services. Thus the Council is “consulting” again, this time about how their should cut £1 million from their substance misuse budget: a vital service which “provide[s] specialist help to people with drug and alcohol problems including psycho social support and medical interventions.”

In response to ongoing attacks on these services Unite Community have called a meeting to be held on Monday 8th December from 6.30pm onwards to instigate a campaign to fight back against such cuts to these drug and alcohol abuse services. This organising meeting and public information session will be taking place at Unite the Union HQ, 29 Burley Way, Leicester LE1 3BE (opposite St. Margaret’s Coach Station).

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