Challenge Khan’s Cuts! Take the Socialist fight to City Hall!

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Details of: Launch Meeting, 9th April 2021

• Organise with trade unions to plan action to defend public services, the environment, benefits and workers’ rights against Johnson’s attacks and fight for the housing, jobs and services we need in London.
• No retreat from Socialist policies – It was the Blairites that undermined Corbyn.

Following February’s Mayor’s question time, Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan listed all the things he wouldn’t or “can’t do” do as Mayor, leading many to label him Sadiq Can’t.  London shouldn’t re-elect politicians who have not, are not, and will not stand up to the Tories. We need socialists in city hall who will unite Londoners to struggle to turn the tide of cuts and privatisation.

We need socialists and working class fighters into City Hall

Across the city, over a decade of Tory government austerity at a national and local government level has hit hard. On top of this is the Covid crisis has compacted the problems faced by working class Londoners. 1 in 4 private renters is struggling to make their rent. The transport system is in crisis. Mass youth unemployment is on the horizon and many people have lost work.

If re-elected unopposed it is clear– Khan will not take the fight to the Tories. Instead he will be a henchman for big-business and Tory policies.

Working class people can’t be expected to vote Khan to keep out the Tories when there is virtually no difference between the two. We need a real alternative.

For A Socialist Mayor

A Socialist Mayor could launch a fight, alongside the trade unions, to protect workers’ health, jobs, and living conditions and defend public services. They would rip up the rotten financial settlement between Khan and the Tories which make transport workers and passengers pay for the Covid crisis.

Rather than pursuing private companies to develop overpriced tiny flats on public land, a socialist Mayor would build council housing, fight for rent controls in the private sector and stamp out covid evictions.

The Socialist Party believes it is vital that there is a stand for socialist policies in this election. If Jeremy Corbyn prepared to stand for Mayor, having had the Labour whip removed by Starmer, it would galvanise who numbers for an alternative in London. But if he doesn’t, we support standing an anti-austerity TUSC candidate.

With the preference vote system, there is no risk of letting the Tories in by using your first preference vote to send a message to Sadiq Khan that austerity will be challenged.

We are prepared to put forward Socialist Party member and long-standing campaigner Nancy Taaffe as a potential candidate for Mayor, and other socialist candidates for the assembly.

We know that more and more campaign groups will be set up in the coming months. As people organise against the impact of Covid, defend their homes and neighbours from eviction, fight for the services they need and more. If the Labour Mayor won’t come to these peoples’ defence – why shouldn’t we organise a united stand against him and the right-wing labour members of the GLA.

So we want to discuss with any other forces – trade unionists, socialists and anti-austerity campaigners inside and outside the Labour Party – to ensure the type of policies we outline below are fought for in this election, including potential candidates. The Socialist Party is part of TUSC (Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition) alongside the transport workers’ union RMT, ex-Labour MP Chris Williamson, Resist and others. TUSC was launched in 2010 as an umbrella for groups and individuals who want to stand in elections on a set of core policies to oppose austerity.

Financial Appeal: Donate to our fund to help the fight for socialist policies in the London elections

These elections cost money. It is £20,000 to stand for Mayor and appear in the booklet. It is £5000 to stand a list. It is £1000 to stand as a constituency candidate.

Please donate to the Socialist Party’s fund to enable a socialist programme to be fought in the London elections. However much we raise, we will use the money to assist the fight for a socialist manifesto in these elections. 

We are calling on ordinary trade unionists who are struggling right now, we are calling on people inspired by Corbyn’s socialist ideas and we are calling all those suffering from  privatisation and fighting back, to stand for us and with us in the London elections  in May.

As we have stated, we are aiming to collect £20k for the Mayoral position. However, because we are a working class party if we don’t get the 20K we will be standing  a collective of socialists who we will be campaigning to be elected in The GLA elections in May. Help us build this election challenge. You can do this financially or you can get in touch and start publicising the campaign to get Socialists into City Hall.

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A socialist manifesto for London

Housing

London’s housing crisis has been exacerbated by the Covid and increasing numbers will struggle to pay their rents in coming months. We need a mass campaign against evictions and for the forgiving of covid rent arrears. Khan’s housing policy has been to hand public space to private companies for development. This has not only failed to solve the housing crisis in London but made it worse, as increasing numbers by flats in high density developments as investment opportunities. Only a tiny proportion of these developments get designated as “affordable”. We need mass council house building and rent controls in the private sector.

590 high-rise residential buildings in London currently require waking watches due to fire risk, driving residents into bankruptcy. Countless low-rise buildings are also affected by the cladding scandal. All these buildings need to be made safe at no cost to tenants and leaseholders.

We say:

• No evictions – forgive Covid arrears.  An immediate moratorium on ‘social cleansing’ schemes. Stop the demolitions
• No to Sadiq Khan’s London plan. Build good quality council houses on social rent, with secure tenancies, and take over empty speculative property. 100% council housing on public land. Full redress for those trapped in leasehold.
• Set a London rent cap.
• Builders, developers and the government must pay for all fire safety remediation — residents must not pay a penny.

Low pay

Still over 700,000 workers are paid less than the London Living Wage in London, and only 19 of 33 London councils are London Living Wage employers. The London living wage has risen to £10.75 but that doesn’t take people up to a decent minimum income – four in ten Londoners don’t reach the Minimum Income Standard – that’s 3.6 million people.

We say:

• End poverty pay – set £15 hour as the London Living Wage and campaign for it to be the minimum wage
• End zero hour contracts in all GLA jobs and call on all London councils to do the same

TUSC no cuts
Vote for No Cuts!

Cuts

London councils have lost 50% funding, losing libraries, nurseries, social care, jobs and pay.

We say:

• Not one more cut passed down from central government by the GLA. Enough is enough!
• Call on all Labour councils in London to stop passing on cuts and support any socialist councillors who refuse to implement these cuts!
• No cuts to domestic violence refuges and services. Fund the services women need.

Transport

We need a safe and affordable public transport system across London. Without it London can’t function. During the peak of the health crisis – transport workers and passenger health and safety was not a priority. Transport workers had to fight for safety measures and to access PPE. Particularly private companies were more concerned with the long term financial loss then safety measures. Khan has accepted a rotten financial settlement from the Tories to plug the funding gap in TfL. Passengers and transport workers shouldn’t be made to pay for the funding crisis. The government should fully fund TfL. But Khan also has a choice. TfL has reserves and borrowing powers it could use to maintain services while fighting for the funding it needs.

With the government and employers desperate to get the economy going again – May would have been the ideal opportunity to push for full funding with no strings attached.  Khan now has another opportunity to stand up to the Tory government on transport funding.

We say:

• Fight for the funding needed to ensure a safe, environmentally sound and affordable transport network in London
• Support transport workers fighting for safety. No job cuts. Re-open tube ticket offices.
• Bring back free youth travel and reinstate pensioners travel
• Invest in non-diesel public transport and establish a grant for people to convert or replace polluting cars, rather than punitive measures to tackle air pollution.
• Road closures only on the basis of democratic oversight by communities and local trade unions.

Young people

Crisis ridden capitalism offers young people no future. The last decade has seen youth services decimated. Now mass youth unemployment is on the horizon.

We say:

• Invest in young people; create jobs on trade union rates of pay or training programs.
• Reopen all youth clubs, recruit more youth workers.  Refuse to implement cuts to schools.
• Establish a grant to enable young people to stay in Further and Higher Education

Fire services

Boris Johnson closed 10 fire stations and cut 14 fire engines and 552 firefighters. Sadiq Khan has not reinstated them.

We say:

• Reopen fire stations and reinstate the fire engines and jobs cut by Boris Johnson.

Worker’s Wage: Instead of taking the mayor’s salary of almost £153,000, the Socialist Party would advocate that a worker’s representative stand on a workers’ wage, and donate the rest back to the workers’ movement. 

A fight for policies like these and more, linking up with the trade unions and the many community campaigns in London, could reach out to councils across the country and spearhead a national campaign. We call on the Labour leadership and deputy leadership candidates to demand that Labour councils take a stand, refuse to make cuts and fight for the money the Tories have stolen from our jobs and services.

A mass movement is necessary to take on the Tories and would also play a big part in re-founding a mass working class party with a socialist programme. 

That would mean defending and extending the manifesto Corbyn stood on. No retreat on the nationalisation pledges. We fight for a socialist government to take into democratic public ownership the banks and big companies that dominate the economy, so that the vast wealth in society can be democratically planned in the interests of the overwhelming majority of people, and in a way that safeguards the environment.