Today the Leicester Mercury (February 19) reported that Leicester Socialist Party member Steve Score “has joined the race to try to become the next mayor of Leicester at the 2019 election.” They explained how “In 2010, the Labour-led council voted to move the city council mayoral system without holding a referendum on it.” The newspaper therefore noted:
“Mr Score has said he is an opponent of the elected mayoral system adopted in the city in 2011. He added that, if elected, he would hold a referendum to ask voters whether the post should be scrapped.”
The reporter pointed out that “Mr Score who chaired the Save Glenfield Children’s Heart Centre campaign and still campaigns against NHS cuts.” They then explained:
“Over years devastating government cuts have affected councils but instead of standing up to the government, Leicester’s city mayor has been meekly passing on these cuts… At the same time he has instead focused on vanity projects in the city centre.
“The cuts he has made have in particular hit the most vulnerable. When homelessness is rocketing, hostels and homelessness services have been cut and council house building has been almost non-existent. When there has been a dramatic rise in people being forced to go to foodbanks, often because of cuts in benefits, welfare rights services are being cut. Cuts have been made to youth services, family centres, voluntary services, libraries, community centres and many others.”
“As a socialist I believe there is an alternative. I would take a stand and refuse to implement any Tory cuts in Leicester by proposing a legal no-cuts budget. This is possible if the council used some of its millions of pounds in reserves and borrowing powers to maintain services. This would allow time to build a citywide campaign against cuts and link up with other authorities across the country to force the much-needed money from the Government. All public services must be taken back in-house by the council.
“People power saved the Glenfield Heart Centre. Similarly, a massive campaign led by the mayor and councillors could save our services.”
If you are interested in learning more about how Leicester’s Labour council could set a legal no-cuts budget then make sure you come along to the Socialist Party’s public meeting (held this Wednesday at Leicester Secular Hall from 7pm) to hear more from Steve Score and others about how this might be done.
If you are in town on Wednesday, you might also consider coming along to “Stop the cuts!” lobby that is being held prior to the Council Budget meeting (at 4.30pm on Town Hall Square). Make your voice heard, and let our Council know that we need elected officials who are willing to fight Tory cuts, not just in words, but through their actions.