Wide screen devices may view this page better by clicking here

Election campaigns

spotCampaigns

spotOrganisations

spotArguments for socialism

spotPeople

spotInternational

spotEvents

spotAround the UK


All keywords


All Campaigns subcategories:

Anti-capitalism

Anti-fascist

Anti-racism

Anti-war

Asylum

Black and Asian

Children

CNWP

Corporate crime

Disability

Education

* Election campaigns

Environment

EU

Finance

Food

Gender Recognition Act

Health and safety

Health and welfare

Housing

Human Rights

LGBT Pride

Local government

Local services

Low pay

Migration

Nationalisation

New workers party

NHS

Pensions

Post Office

Poverty

Privatisation

Public Services

Socialism

Socialist

Sport

Stop the slaughter of Tamils

Students

The state

Transport

TUSC

Welfare rights

Women

Workplace and TU campaigns

Youth


Election campaigns


Highlight keywords  |Print this articlePrint this article
From: The Socialist issue 1115, 6 January 2021: 3 lockdowns... 20+ U-turns... We can’t trust the Tories… but workers’ action can win on health, safety, jobs and pay!

Search site for keywords: Council - Nottingham - Cuts - Government - Councillors - Budget - Jobs - Trade unions - Outsourcing - Labour - Austerity

Nottingham City Council: Major battles against cuts ahead

Local authority workers protesting against austerity in 2016, photo: Paul Mattsson

Local authority workers protesting against austerity in 2016, photo: Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Nottingham Socialist Party members

Nottingham's Labour Council faces a decisive choice: whether it defends services, jobs and terms and conditions, or implements major cuts.

The council is in deep financial difficulty due to longstanding government underfunding, exacerbated by around £38.5 million of unfunded additional costs from Covid-19. It has also suffered the collapse of its energy company, Robin Hood Energy, and failed commercialisation policies, which attempted to increase income to cover for insufficient government funds.

The collapse of Robin Hood Energy, costing the council around £38 million, led to the government commissioning a public interest report on the council's governance of the company. The report was damning, and the government then commissioned a rapid non-statutory review into wider financial and governance issues at the council, seen as a possible precursor to a process for sending in commissioners.

It also appears that the council might have already been at risk of a Section 114 notice being issued by the senior financial officer. This would mean that no new expenditure would be permitted, with the exception of funding statutory services.

Tory cuts and privatisation

The agenda of any Tory-commissioned review will never be in the interest of those who work for the council or depend on its services. This review's stated aim was to make the council a "best value authority... having regard to a combination of economy, efficiency and effectiveness" - to Tories this means cuts and privatisation.

The report published last month criticises the council for outsourcing to wholly owned subsidiaries rather than to wider private contracts, arguing that "in outsourcing to wholly owned subsidiaries, Nottingham City Council have not realised the scale of savings that other bodies have enjoyed", pointing out that savings can be made by "modernising the terms and conditions of employees".

Yet for council services and staff there have already been massive attacks. There has been around £299 million worth of announced savings since 2010, with service reductions, closures, around 250 job losses in the last year alone, and around 1,200 jobs (possibly more) lost since 2010. There has been a pay increment freeze, 'dismissal and re-engagement' of staff who did not sign new contracts, and further attacks on terms and conditions.

If the figures in the report are correct, on 31 March 2020 the council had the highest debt to net budget of all the core cities (only Birmingham and Leeds have higher total levels of debt).

In September, the council's executive board updated its projections in the light of Covid-19 and emerging issues. This is now showing budget gaps in the range of £39-54 million for 2021/22, rising to £53-64 million in 2023/24. The council officers were set the task of identifying cuts of £50 million; as yet they have not fully done so. We argue that all cuts must be vigorously opposed.

The report calls for further cuts and reorganisation, with a three-year recovery plan. It proposes that the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, in partnership with the council, should establish an 'improvement board'. Set up to include only one elected city councillor (the council leader), it would be a huge dilution of democracy.

Consistent with their failure to fight, the council leadership has accepted the findings of the report. It appears that the review team decided not to move towards sending in commissioners because they have been "impressed with their determination to fix the issue". In other words, carry out more attacks on workers and services.

Alternative budget needed

This report, and the council leadership's response to it, throws down the gauntlet to those councillors who regard themselves as anti-austerity - at least ten of the 50 Labour councillors in Nottingham.

So far, these councillors have mainly been publicly silent. Between now and the setting of what is likely to be a huge cuts budget in March 2021, they need to go public in actively opposing further cuts. It is crucial that they work with the council trade unions and wider trade union movement to organise in local communities to defend services and jobs.

These councillors should build support for an alternative budget, one which demands proper government funding to meet the needs of the people of Nottingham. This campaign should link up with communities and trade unions in other areas around the country, many of which face the same prospect of cuts and job losses.

There are no Nottingham City Council elections until 2023. But it is clear that fighting, anti-cuts councillors are needed. We will be prepared to stand as part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition against councillors unwilling to fight the government to stop austerity.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Finance appeal

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.

Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.

We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to click here to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation £

 

Your message: 

 






Election campaigns keywords:

Candidates (87)

Council elections (55)

Councillors (420)

Election (1347)

Elections (554)

Elections 2015 (3)

General election (257)

No2EU (83)

TUSC (1101)

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (547)

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Article dated 6 January 2021

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

MEMBER RESOURCES

Pay in Fighting Fund

Pay in paper and book sales

Leaflets

Bulk book orders

New member submission

WHAT'S ON

triangle28 Feb Socialist Students conference

triangle2 Mar Bristol North Socialist Party: The National Question - Scotland, Wales & N Ireland

triangle2 Mar Caerphilly & RCT Socialist Party: How can peace be achieved in Israel/Palestine?

More...


The Socialist, weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party

Covid

What we think

News

Lessons from history

Workplace news

TUSC

Campaigns news

LGBT+ history month

International news

Readers' opinion

Subscribespacer|spacerebook / Kindlespacer|spacerPDF versionspacer|spacerText / Printspacer|spacer1122 onlinespacer|spacerBack issuesspacer|spacer Audio files


Leicester picket on the 21st strike day (22nd Feb) of around 7,000 British Gas engineers.  They are fighting against

Leicester picket on the 21st strike day (22nd Feb) of around 7,000 British Gas engineers. They are fighting against 'fire and rehire' - designed to worsen terms and conditions. Photo by Steve Score, Leicester Socialist Party

What We Stand For
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Platform setting: =

Desktop version