Raising the irresistible slogan “Vote for Education & Health!,” this Saturday local teachers and health campaigners will be protesting in Leicester city centre to show their anger at ongoing Tory cuts to funding for schools and our health services.
The protest will be taking place at the Clock Tower from 11am onwards and is being organised by the Leicester National Union of Teachers (NUT) in alliance with the Save Glenfield Children’s Heart Unit campaign. Other groups confirming their support of this critical and timely event include Leicestershire NUT and members of ATL Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland Branch, and Keep Our NHS Public.
Need I say more about the Heart Unit campaign: massive Tory funding cuts mean that plans are afoot to close the only heart unit in the East Midlands!
On the issue of schools funding, the Tories say that, like in the NHS, funding levels are at record levels, but this of course neglects the issue of the rate of inflation, which in real terms mean that year on year health and education services are left with less resources.
Financial figures (that have recently been confirmed by the Institute for Fiscal Studies) “show that Leicester’s schools will lose just over £17 million in real terms by 2020, while Leicestershire will lose nearly £25 million.” (“Leicester and Leicestershire schools could lose 1,129 teachers over next few years, unions warn,” Leicester Mercury, November 8, 2016.)
As reported in the Mercury, Ian Leaver, Secretary of Leicester’s NUT branch, said:
“No head teacher should be put in the position of increasing class sizes, leaving building repairs undone or cutting staff and resources simply to balance the books. Nor should any parent accept this for their child. We are one of the richest countries in the world. We can and we should be funding our schools properly.
“Under the guise of ‘fairer funding’, Theresa May and education secretary Justine Greening intend only to shift the already inadequate overall school funding around the country, rather than do the right thing – which is to increase it and ensure the most disadvantaged benefit.”
The contrast between the Labour Party’s socialist policies that will promise increased investment in our schools and health services and the Tories lies is stark. Let’s not forget how much Labour has changed under Jeremy Corbyn’s principled leadership, and his other promises to reverse privatisation, reinstate EMA and make university education free!
With the general election looming we have everything to fight for and it is clear that other local trade unions (most particularly my own union Unison) should take inspiration from the education unions and help build support for a fighting socialist government that will place the interest of the working-class before fat cat profiteers.
I will leave the final word to the Leicester NUT who in advertising the forthcoming protest write:
“Come together in Leicester to show your support for fully funded schools with a qualified teacher in every class! Let’s stop the cuts! Vote for Education & Health!”
To see exactly how much funding your local school is losing under the Tories ongoing misrule see http://www.schoolcuts.org.uk