Labour councillors have previously argued that it is better Labour implement the cuts than the Tories because Labour can protect the most needy, and keep a skeleton of services in existence, to be revived when the economic situation improves. The Labour Group Leader’s announcement of 23rd October 2012 makes this argument untenable. By implementing these cuts, and by privatising our services, our Labour council will be held responsible for the wholesale destruction of public services in Birmingham.
There is however an alternative and that is to refuse to implement the cuts.
The Council could set a deficit budget. This would mean spending more money than the Tory government is prepared to give them. This would create a political crisis. The Tories would face two choices – find the money or take on a Birmingham Labour Council overwhelmingly supported by its voters and the Trade Unions.
Surely it’s better that the crisis hits the Tory government and the rich who caused this recession then that the crisis continues to assault ordinary working class families. Neither is the crisis the fault of the thousands of low paid working women who were denied equal pay for decades.
Birmingham City Council is the biggest local authority in Europe. The political impact of Birmingham City Council refusing to implement the cuts, and instead rallying the people of Birmingham in a fight against this vicious Tory assault on the living standards of working class people would be massive.
Some people say that setting a deficit budget would allow Eric Pickles to take over our council. This would be a massive assault on democracy and a huge gamble by an already weak Coalition government.
There is an alternative to the people of our city paying for the crisis and that is for the government to collect the £120 billion owed every year in uncollected, evaded and avoided tax. This would not only pay off the deficit but would provide on-going money to invest in public services across the country.
Voters will not easily forgive Labour for implementing this Tory destruction of our public services. Cuts of this magnitude will not allow Birmingham Labour councillors to defend the most needy, or protect public services. We either defeat the Tory cuts, or we lose our public services.
We the undersigned individuals and organisations call on Sir Albert Bore and Birmingham Labour
councillors to refuse to implement these Tory cuts in Birmingham.
If you wish to add your or your organisation as a signatory to this letter, please comment on this post or email us at BirminghamAgainstTheCuts@gmail.com