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Council Have Voted Through £102m Cuts – Blockade & Demonstration Is Not The End

Birmingham Against The Cuts | 28.02.2013 18:44 | Public sector cuts | Social Struggles | Workers' Movements | Birmingham

Birmingham City Councillors on their way to approve £102m of cuts made by the national Tory/Lib Dem coalition found their way blocked this morning by scores of protesters at the entrances to the council house, demanding that they stand up and fight austerity rather than meekly voting these cuts through.

It is not right to say we should have “fair cuts” – no cut is a fair cut. Unless we stop austerity entirely, not cutting one thing just means cutting something else. Austerity is failing to deal with our economic problems, with the government deficit rising – over £5bn higher in 2012 than 2011, it is time for change.

A few councillors proved their commitment to cuts by pushing their way through the blockades but more tried and failed before police gave up trying to break the line and smuggled them into the council house through secret back doors in the art galleries and museums connected to the building. Once inside the council budget meeting proceeded, interrupted twice by the same protester before the public gallery was cleared. The vote passed of course but this is not the end of our fight against austerity or our opportunities to stop our services being closed.

When they closed Merrishaw Day Nursery we protested and lobbied councillors and now it’s re-opened

When they tried to withdraw funding from the Cotteridge Church OAP Day Centre we protested and funding was restored.

When they proposed closing Charles House respite day care home we protested and they kept it open

When they tried to remove care from all adults except those in the “super critical” category, we took them to court and won

When they said they would sell off the forests, half a million people signed petitions and Conservative MPs constituency offices were occupied and they gave it up

When they tried to close Lewisham A&E, 25,000 people went on a demonstration and threatened to occupy the hospital and they decided to keep it open.

When they closed Friern Library in Barnet, it was occupied by workers and the community for 5 months, now it’s re-opened as a community library.

When they tried to close Connexions, the workers went on strike and stopped most redundancies, now they are under threat again, along with 1,000 more council workers.

Labour may have voted through the Tory cuts today, but that doesn’t mean we’ve lost – cuts can be reversed and austerity ended through concerted action.

Everyone can do something to help our campaign, we meet regularly and plan activities, our meetings are open to anyone that wants to help out. We have local groups in lots of areas but would like to be able to have a group in every area. If you can spare anytime at all do please get in touch or come along to one of these meetings:

Thursday 7th March, 7:30pm – Birmingham Trades Council meeting. Clive Heemskerk from TUSC who is an expert on legal alternatives to setting a cuts budget and Jolyon Jones from East Birmingham ag the cuts who will speak about social care aspects of Bham’s cuts.

Monday 11th March, 6:30pm – Birmingham Against the Cuts planning meeting. All welcome, Unison offices have level access & accessible toilets, children are welcome but we cannot provide a creche service. Unison Offices, 19th Floor McClaren Tower, Priory Queensway, B4 7SL

Saturday 16th March, 3pm-6pm – Birmingham Anti-Cuts Conference – details to be arranged, join this facebook event or keep an eye here for further details.

18th-24th March – Boycott Workfare week of action – after further successes in the campaign to end forced work for disabled and unemployed people we’ll be holding actions to be confirmed.

Don’t just accept these cuts – there are alternatives and together we can stop this government and it’s self-defeating austerity that hurts and doesn’t work.

Birmingham Against The Cuts