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Over £100 million has been cut from Bristol City Council by the independent mayor and his cross-party cabinet. Over 1,000 jobs have been threatened, with cuts to libraries, care services, parks and more.
These cuts haven't gone unchallenged. Anti-cuts campaigners have managed to reverse proposed library closures and the removal of public toilets.
But with the possibility of huge funding cuts by the Tory government each year until 2020, we face an uphill battle to stop the complete destruction of some services. Nobody in the council is giving voice to that battle, to the workers who provide vital services and the people that use them.
Unfortunately, despite the new leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, Labour councillors once again all voted for the latest cuts budget. We need representatives who are going to stand up for the city and oppose Tory cuts, not pass them on to us.
For that reason the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) decided to stand me in the election for mayor of Bristol, along with 18 candidates for council seats. We're standing on a platform of stopping and reversing the cuts.
We want a budget that reflects what Bristol needs, not the Tories' demands to cut. Campaigning can push them back on council cuts like it did on disability benefits, but we need to take a stand.
We're getting a great response to our message. I've spoken to hundreds of people at hustings and been interviewed in local papers and on the radio.
We have to fight to get the same coverage as the 'bigger' candidates, so we're doing what we can to reach people on the doorsteps and on the streets. We're building support for socialism and for fighting austerity. That's vital in these times of cuts and capitalist crisis and it won't stop after election day.
TUSC is the 100% anti-austerity electoral coalition made up of the RMT transport union, the Socialist Party, other socialist groups, and leading trade unionists from other trade unions. This year we're standing 309 candidates cutting against politicians.
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Council elections (56)
Elections 2015 (3)
General election (257)
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (556)
Article dated 20 April 2016
The Socialist, weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party
Lessons from history
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