"We do not believe ordinary people should suffer for the greed of the bankers or the desires of politicians who support a system that allows a few to become incredibly wealthy at the expense of everybody else…"
Salford Against The Cuts Statement
Salford's Labour Party members talked of Council Cabinet members with "tears in their eyes", and of Councillor Bill Hinds being "a broken man" at an open meeting of Salford Against The Cuts last night.
The meeting, held at Salford Arts Theatre, was to decide on the campaign's tactics in opposing the ConDem Government's public spending cuts which Salford's Labour Council will have to impose after March this year.
Advocating an illegal budget based on the needs of the community rather than the needs of Government spending cuts, Steve North argued that Salford Council should take the lead in refusing to impose the cuts… "Somebody has to go first and do this, so why not Salford? Half our children are already living in poverty, what have we go to lose?"
Opposing this move, Alex Halligan argued that to take such a stand would "not be in the interest of Salford people" and would alienate swathes of trade union and Labour Party supporters.
Attendees at the meeting heard speakers talk of 900 redundancies at the City Council, homeless shelters being shut, libraries closed down and services decimated…
"I don't think that the penny's dropped with Salford people yet" said one speaker "Salford can't cope with its problems as it is, and if the Council is prepared to push these cuts through councillors will have blood on their hands, never mind tears in their eyes..."
Others spoke of Government commissioners coming into the city and forcing the cuts through if Salford Council refused to do it.
The meeting eventually decided against calling on Salford Council to set an illegal budget but did pass a statement to be sent to the Council noting that…
"Salford Against The Cuts is opposed to all cuts and will campaign against any attacks on jobs or services. We do not believe ordinary people should suffer for the greed of the bankers or the desires of politicians who support a system that allows a few to become incredibly wealthy at the expense of everybody else…"
The campaign called on Salford City Council to:
• Provide financial and practical support for the TUC Demo for Jobs, Growth and Justice on March 26th
• Defend Housing Rights
• Extend support and assistance for services such as Salford Welfare Rights and Salford Unemployed and Community Resource Centre so that those who suffer as a result of the cuts in the welfare state are able to properly challenge any decisions
• Provide renewed support for the Keep Hope Maternity Open campaign.
The meeting also sent a message of support to Connexions workers, who provide career advice to young people and face a 46.5% cut to their budget including the possibility of 28 job losses.