Cllrs Ian Rathbone, Linda Kelly and Deniz Oguzkanli
The Con-Dem Coalition is attacking the fabric of a civilised society: NHS jobs and services are being cut and wholesale privatisation is planned. 3,500 young people in Hackney will lose Educational Maintenance Allowance and student fees are tripling. Access to legal aid is being choked off. Housing benefit restrictions threaten people's homes. Disrepair stemming from cuts in the Decent Homes programme will affect health and increase stress.
Money available for local councils is to be cut back for four successive years. Some think we should protest - and wait for the next election. Our view is that we cannot wait until the damage is done. Nobody voted to privatise the NHS or make our communities pay for the bankers' crisis. The government has no mandate. The bankers' greed caused the crisis - they and their rich friends should pay for it through targeted taxes and a crack down on the tax loopholes used by millionaires and big corporations. As Labour Councillors, along with supporters of the Labour Representation Committee, we support a campaign to defeat the policies of this government through public protest, opposition and defiance.
We would like to see local Councils across London leading the charge and refusing to adopt cuts budgets as a result of government enforced policies and producing a Needs Budgets to show what should be funded. This won't give local Councils the money to keep services running - but it would give a big boost to the campaign to defeat the government.
Labour needs to reinvent itself as a political movement - not just a party of management and government. Local residents and community organisations need to share their concerns and inform local councillors of the impact of cuts particularly where women, older people, the young, people with disabilities and Black and Minority Ethnic communities will be disproportionately affected by the cuts.
We are facing a national and international emergency and this calls for exceptional measures to mobilise our people and defeat the Con-Dem Coalition. If we do not speak out, our silence will be taken for agreement.
Cllr Barry Buitekant
Cllr Michelle Gregory
Cllr Linda Kelly
Cllr Deniz Oguzkanli
Cllr Ian Rathbone
Cllr Patrick Vernon
Hackney LRC can be contacted at: PO Box 2378, London E5 9QU firstname.lastname@example.org We also support: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Their-Cuts-Not-Ours/178128612200341
An edited version of this statement appears in the Hackney Unites tabloid against the cuts.