by David Hofman, West London Socialist Party
For every £1 received from central government in 2010, Ealing, in west London, now gets 36p. There is no let-up in the Labour council’s relentless cuts to jobs, services and facilities.
Ealing now has only three purpose-built youth centres, and the council has decided to demolish the young adults centre in Southall, one of the borough’s most deprived areas, and redevelop the site for yet more unaffordable housing.
There is for sure enormous demand for housing – 12,000 households are on the council waiting list. But the new-build blocks appearing all over the borough have asking prices way beyond what ordinary people can afford to buy or rent.
But these attacks on our living conditions can be resisted. ‘Low-traffic neighbourhoods’ — placing bollards and cameras, with no local consultation — caused uproar. For once, the council backed down and withdrew most of its proposals.
The People’s Budget meeting, hosted by the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), on 6 November will be an opportunity for people to channel this anger positively, and discuss a no-cuts alternative. In preparation, the Socialist Party, part of TUSC, is undertaking a borough-wide publicity drive. We are contacting community organisations and campaigns, such as the campaign to save Southall young adults centre, union branches and other workers.
We have also started door-to-door canvassing about standing anti-austerity candidates next year. Dozens of people have given us their contact details, including ex-Labour Party members disgusted with Keir Starmer’s shift to the right.
There is a far warmer response this time around to an anti-austerity challenge to Labour. The People’s Budget meeting could be the first step to making this a reality.
Ealing TUSC meeting for a People’s Budget
- Saturday 6 November, 3pm, Acton Hill Church, Woodlands Avenue, London W3 9BU (opposite Acton police station and Morrisons)