Tonight, together with other members of Lambeth Green Party, I will be at the protest against cuts outside Lambeth Town Hall as will many representatives of the voluntary sector and those whose sevices and jobs are being cut. We are the Big Society!
23 FEB – 6PM- COUNCIL CUTS BUDGET VOTE- DEMONSTATE, PROTEST & LOBBY!
On the 23rd February Lambeth Council meets in full to vote on its proposed budget and we, Lambeth Save Our Services, will be protesting against it, just as we did on the 7th February when hundreds protested at the last cabinet meeting.
What is getting cut?
Almost every council service, anything up to 1000 council workers, 25% of all staff, this includes:
• The entire park ranger service
• The entire school crossing patrol service which serves 24 schools
• More cuts in Children’s Services
• Libraries budget slashed – staff cut, Nettlefold hall closed, four of nine libraries under cuts consultation
• Discretionary freedom passes for adults with mental health problems
• Regeneration schemes on housing estates
• Cuts and privatisation in adult social care
• Lambeth and Lewisham Colleges to merge – massive cuts to local education
• Reduction in highway maintenance levels and potholes
• Rent rises whilst there are less staff to keep estates safe, clean and in decent state of repair
• Maintenance of the borough’s parks, cemeteries and crematoria is to be scaled back.
• Street cleaning levels reduced
• Many cultural events scrapped
• Three out of four Public toilets to close
• Noise nuisance service
• Reduction in the Faith Engagement Programme, which helps to support events such as Holocaust Memorial Day and Peace on the Streets and other community events and projects.
• Any much more. For more info see the council website (400+ pages!) or check this websites for Cutswatch updates
What is the alternative?
Most importantly Lambeth SOS believes that our local democratic representatives – councillors - should not implement government cuts they openly disagree with. Lambeth Labour, who run Lambeth Council, admit that the government cuts to the budget are ideological. We agree – these are cuts made by a Conservative (and Liberal) government made up of millionaires who believe huge public service cuts and big business are the way forward.
Not only do these cuts hit the most vulnerable hardest, they cut inner city councils more (mostly Labour run) than wealthy countryside areas. These cuts are not the fault of the people of Lambeth and we should not be made to pay for the financial crisis. Tax the rich to Save Our Services.
If Labour councils across England refused to implement the unnecessary cuts they disagree with then government would be forced to change its plan. Here in Lambeth, not only does the council refuse to protect its services with a bold anti-cuts budget, it also wastes huge amounts of money whilst cutting our services.
How to save money without cutting services in Lambeth
• Bring the failing Lambeth Living ALMO (the external housing management firm) back in-house saving millions.
• Cut all senior management pay – how can your councillor justify £270k for the chief executive? That is enough to staff an entire library!
• Use council reserves to reduce the impact of the front loading of the cuts and allow time to make improvements.
• Similarly, pay back the pension deficit over a longer period.
• Cut astronomical councillors allowances.
• Terminate over-paid and under-worked consultants.
• Stop letting cowboy contractors rip the council off.
But most of all stop hiding behind police lines, security guards and consultation companies and join the people you are supposed to serve, in fighting these cuts.
What should you do?
COME TO THE PROTEST ON THE 23 FEBRUARY
Download the leaflet for the protest and send it to everyone you know. Tell people why this budget is wrong and why we have to protest on the 23rd.
Write to your councillor and tell them to fight the cuts and ask them why are they not saving money instead (see above).
Come to our regular open planning meetings, get involved and join the email list
Come to our Benefit gig to raise money for SOS
Follow us on facebook and twitter and help us spread the word!
Affiliate you Trade Union branch or community group and give us money.
UPDATE: Facebook event now available: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=152528408136789