Motions on: Local Authorities & Councils

Motions in this section from:

1) Southampton People's Assembly
2) Cardiff People's Assembly
3) Coventry People's Assembly

1) Southampton People's Assembly

Conference notes that :
Local Authorities are fast approaching a crisis point in their efforts to provide essential public services. There have already been drastic cuts in social care, libraries and mental health support. Further reductions in Government funding will result in many statutory services becoming undeliverable.

No single Council has the ability to stand alone in opposition to continual cuts in government spending.

The election of Jeremy Corbyn and the creation of Momentum, however, provide a fresh opportunity to bring Labour-­‐led ( and other) Authorities together and to unite them as part of a wider popular resistance against Government austerity.

Building such a "coalition of the willing" will strengthen our Movement and so paralyse the Conservative Government's cuts agenda.

Accordingly, Conference resolves that :
The National Conference of the People's Assembly accepts the task of convening a national meeting of Local Authorities in the new year with the aim of creating joint platforms from which Councils can stand together to defend our public services.

Conference calls upon those local/regional Assemblies organised within Labour -­‐ controlled Authority areas to canvass both the Councils and the public sector unions for their support for such a meeting. Labour -­‐ controlled Authorities provide an obvious focus for progress. Participation, however, of other Local Authorities, which can be persuaded to support the meeting, should be welcomed.

2) Cardiff People's Assembly

"No Cuts" Campaign Against Council Cuts

Conference notes
1. People's Assembly opposes all cuts. Five more years of council cuts is unsustainable.
2. Council cuts derive from the Tory government's austerity policies of making us pay for the financial crisis not of our making.
3. People, especially younger people, across the UK are under financial pressure from benefit cuts and falling real wages. In these circumstances they increasingly rely on the collective provision of council and other services, only to find that they are being withdrawn whilst at the same time experiencing increased payments for less provision.
4. Council cuts are transmitted down from the UK Tory government by a combination of withdrawal of finance and requirement to set a legal budget.
5. Councillors, lacking politics and confidence to challenge this political and bureaucratic process, buckle under and pass ‘their problem’ as they see it, on to us.
6. Historical examples of councils defying central government: Poplar 1921, Clay Cross & Bedwas and Machen 1972, Rate Capping Rebellion of 80s with 26 Labour councils pledging to defy government with Liverpool and Lambeth going furthest.
7. Recently examples of Northern Ireland Assembly and House of Lords prepared to risk a constitutional crisis over implementation of Tory welfare reform and tax credits.
8. A small number of Labour & Green councillors have voted for no cuts.

Conference calls for
People's Assembly to launch a national campaign for councils to refuse to set cuts budgets this year and instead set 'needs' budgets based upon estimating what is actually needed to adequately maintain services and campaigning for the government to provide it.

Conference therefore resolves to
1. Publicise and develop arguments around 'needs budgets' to aid activists
2. Prepare model motions calling upon councils to set no cuts budgets for use by local anti-cuts groups, trade union branches etc
3. Give a platform to, and amplify voice of councillors who vote against all cuts
4 In all council areas an electronic petition could be drawn up demanding councillors vote against all cuts, raising directly the issues that we face and the responsibility our elected representatives have to fight back.
5. Rectify lack of material on PA website supporting local campaigners around council cuts, especially around the political arguments (ie. responding to 'cuts have to be made', 'we have no choice', 'what would you cut instead')
6. Organise a national meeting for councillors, trade unionists and anti-austerity campaigners to explore how councils can resist.
7. Compile and share information on examples of council 'best practice' in resisting austerity such as using reserves, no bedroom tax eviction policies, pledges of non-cooperation with the Trade Union Bill, Manchester Council opening up empty buildings to homeless etc.

3) Coventry and Warwickshire People's Assembly

'This meeting notes that many local authorities have appeared to have brought into the Government's proposals to unify authorities and create so called city regions. These moves have taken place without any effective consultation and involvement of the people living in these areas. Government is also keen to impose elected mayors on these new city regions - often when most recent votes have resoundingly defeated the proposition.
 
Councils have stated that they see this as a good move as they will get more power over government spending which is currently spent by Government Departments. This move in itself will lead to a reduction in Government expenditure as service responsibility will be transferred from Central to local states. But it is the case that the proposal by Government is designed solely to cover up for the massive cuts in Local Government expenditure and the consequent cuts in services. Services will also be run by appointed boards - removing accountability from local authorities and directly elected councillors.
 
The People's Assembly agrees that given the lack of consultation, accountability and it being a clear means by Government to further cut public spending overall the People's Assembly should oppose such developments and lend support to local groups and trade unions who do so.'

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