Local Councils across the country are facing phenomenal funding cuts thanks to our despicable Tory government, and last month Melton Borough Council became the third Tory-run authority to pledge to use a regressive local lottery scheme to help make up the difference (see “Local lotteries should not replace government funding cuts”).
Now some Labour Councils are seeking to emulate the lotto model of raising taxes (first pioneered in the United States) by encouraging the poor to just give a little more to help the poor. This nonsense is currently being promoted by Liverpool City Council where 80 of the 90 councillors are Labour Party members.
Liverpool City Mayor Joe Anderson used his New Year message to explain how he intends to set up a Liverpool Lottery Card to “help” the poor. Rather than help build a fight-back against the Tory cuts, the Mayor would prefer to snatch the stolen money back from the working poor, not the government.
To justify his lotto madness, Mayor Anderson highlighted the “dire situation” facing his city as a result of government cuts: “We have had more than half of our funding snatched away from us, a 58% cut so far, with more to come. In 2010 we used to receive £524m from Government and today we receive only £268m.”
He added that as the “government simply will not listen,” Liverpool Council has “no choice but to get on with it,” that is, to continue to make drastic cuts to vital public services (and to set up a regressive lottery scheme).
Ramping up his meaningless rhetoric, Mayor Anderson stated: “This city never has and never will know what it means to rest in its fight for justice. We will always dig in our heels and keep fighting for our future.” But starting a lottery is hardly fighting for the future!
Yes, Labour Councils and councillors must pledge to never rest in their fight for justice, which will mean concretely fighting Tory cuts.
For a start Labour Councils must promptly move to set legal no-cuts budgets, and refuse to carry through any more Tory cuts. Such an empowering pledge of resistance has already been supported by the local government bodies of Unison and Unite, the national conference of the GMB, and by the Welsh TUC; so the question has to be asked, why are Labour still sitting on their hands?