As a matter of some urgency someone needs to write to Councillor Kirk Master (Stoneygate ward) and remind him of how brilliantly Jeremy Corbyn did in the recent general election. I say this because in Mr Master’s capacity as the Assistant City Mayor for Neighbourhood Services for a Labour-dominated Council he is still carrying through Tory cuts here in Leicester.
Someone needs to make sure Mr Master is now aware that Corbyn’s firm opposition to austerity is extremely popular and that at a local level the best way that Labour-led Councils (and their councillors) can act to support Corbyn is by make a political stand by resisting austerity with every inch of their power.
Our weak and divided Tory government is about to collapse under the weight of its own deep contradictions – possibly within a matter of months – and so Labour Councils must not spend the next few months doing the Tories bidding!
The headline of a recent article in the Leicester Mercury explained: “Community centre in Spinney Hill may be sold and housing offices shut” (June 15). As our Labour Council noted in their press release their current proposals represent a “30% reduction in the running costs for neighbourhood buildings” for six city wards (Castle, Evington, North Evington, Spinney Hills, Stoneygate and Wycliffe). The Mercury duly reported:
“The authority has set out plans to sell off the Coleman Lodge Community Centre, in Spinney Hill, and close neighbourhood housing offices in Humberstone and Rowlatts Hill.”
Mr Master emphasised that the proposed cuts are just proposals and this stage, and so can still be opposed by local communities, and by Labour Party members who believe that it would be counterproductive to continue the process of implement Tory cuts in Leicester. It seems Mr Master does not yet realise that there is an alternative to carrying through further austerity, as were helpfully outlined in Unison’s “no cuts” budget proposal that was handed over to the Council earlier this year. I say this because Mr Master says: “We have to make these changes because of the cuts to council budgets.”
Leicester’s Labour Council and Mr Master himself now face a stark choice: they can work with the city’s trade unions and refuse to carry out further cuts to our services and thereby build support for Corbyn’s strong anti-austerity message; or they can continue to ignore the city’s trade unions and tens of thousands of Corbyn supporters and carry through cuts and thereby possibly act to undermine the likelihood of a Labour government coming to power later this year.
If you have any advice for Mr Master why not drop him an email on firstname.lastname@example.org
To protest the proposed cuts, people can also attend a public consultation event at Coleman Neighbourhood Centre on Wednesday 5 July at 6.30pm, or one at St Matthews Centre on Tuesday 11 July at 6.30pm. Alternatively, take part in the consultation online at www.leicester.gov.uk/tns