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24 February 2021

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West Sussex children's centres on the chopping block

  (Click to enlarge)

Robert Somerton-Jones, Brighton and Sussex Socialist Party

Conservative West Sussex County Council is planning to axe 32 children's centres and twelve youth centres. The council is facing a massive budget shortfall, as much as 105 million over the next three years, according to its own figures. This is due to the devastating economic fallout from the coronavirus crisis and huge cuts in funding from central government. And rather than demanding more money from government, they are putting services onto the chopping block.

In the hope of saving a paltry 1.95 million a year, the council is planning to close 32 out of 44 award-winning early help children's centres in the county, as well as all of the 'Find It Out' youth centres which give advice to teenagers and young adults.

The Socialist Party Brighton and Sussex branch is campaigning to stop this act of social vandalism. We aim to join with local people, staff at the centres organised in the union Unison, as well as any local Labour Party councillors who will vote to oppose cuts.

A petition signed by at least 500 local people, calling for a halt to the cuts, has already been dismissed out of hand by the Tory council and their Lib Dem collaborators. We need to build wider support for the campaign, including organising protests and supporting workers if they decide to take industrial action.

Our demands are simple and straightforward - no cuts and no job losses!

It's not just these centres under threat; we know that this is the first shot of a much bigger attack aimed at our public services. We know the same councillors are planning to make 50% cuts to day and respite care, which help struggling parents or parents of neuro-divergent children. We know that centre closures only account for less than 2% of the planned cuts.

Working-class people did not cause this crisis, and so it should not be us who pay for it with higher taxes, job losses, and reduced access to services.

Councils in England hold billions in reserves. This money must be used immediately to prevent further austerity. Meanwhile, a battle must be waged to fight for the Tories to replenish local authority funding that has been slashed in the last decade of austerity. After all, we now know that the 'magic money tree' does exist when it comes to bailing out big business.

With local elections on the horizon, the Socialist Party plans to stand as part of the Trade Union and Socialists Coalition (TUSC). At the centre of TUSC's election platform is the demand for no more cuts, and a pledge from all candidates to vote against all cuts in the council chamber.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 24 February 2021:


Covid

Where's the road map to jobs and wages Boris?

Johnson's 'road map' for schools: Act together to protect safety

Vaccine algorithm can't solve capitalist inequality

Garment workers and Covid: Dying for less than minimum wage


What we think

Starmer's speech a return to New Labour


News

Justice for Moyied Bashir

Uber drivers win case - they are workers

Social care: End privatisation and let workers decide how it's run


Lessons from history

How militant trade unionism defeated the 1971 Industrial Relations Act


Workplace news

Usdaw elections - right makes gains but Broad Left builds

HMRC: Divisive pay deal leads to expulsions

Hinkley Point electricians fight 'deskilling'

"I'm here to fight for the future education of children in Hackney"

London bus dispute against low pay, pay cuts and longer hours

GMB members continue fight against 'fire and rehire' in British Gas

Scunthorpe steelworks scaffolders: Fifth week of action


TUSC

Liverpool Unite branch supports 'no cuts' budget strategy

Scottish TUSC election campaign launch

Keep the fighting fund rushing in for a TUSC stand in May


Campaigns news

W. Sussex children's centres on the chopping block

Coventry success building subscriptions

Socialist Students conference - postering

Save John Carroll Leisure Centre

Getting the Socialist out in lockdown


LGBT+ history month

Pride flag is about unity in struggle

Tories tout toilet tensions


International news

Nigeria: Abbey Trotsky on trial for assisting workers' struggle

Facebook v Australian government: nationalise the bosses' media!


Readers' opinion

Film Review: The White Tiger

Tories admit guilt for asylum seeker neglect

Tories target universities in free speech shakedown

The Socialist Inbox


 

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Related links:

Sussex:

triangleSussex: Hands off Peacehaven schools

triangleNationalisation is answer to Southern Water cover up

triangleFreshers fairs: socialist ideas chime with students

triangleStudents and workers unite and fight

triangleHousing victory for Sussex students

Children:

triangleChildcare in crisis: A socialist solution

triangleNo start for life

triangleFootball abuse scandal: Reclaim the game for justice and democracy

triangleWorkers respond to 'back to school'

Cuts:

triangleGMB general secretary election: A fighting, socialist leadership needed

triangleCouncillors have a choice - don't vote for cuts

triangleLondon elections - TUSC against cuts public launch

Council:

triangleRight-wing Labour and Tory commissioners out!

triangleAcademy schools have become business ventures

Article dated 24 February 2021

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