Austerity must go! Kick out the Tories – we need a Socialist Alternative

Theresa May’s zombie government is still in place, lurching from one crisis to the next but looking increasingly likely to be consigned to the grave.

Iain Dalton, Socialist Alternative candidate for Gipton and Harehills ward, Leeds

Talk continues of local Tory party branches calling emergency general meetings at which they’d pass a no confidence motion in order to heap pressure on May to go.

But if May is replaced by another Tory, that will do nothing about the ongoing austerity that is blighting the lives of working-class communities up and down the country. We need a general election.

This week, newspapers gave us yet another example of the misery austerity entails. Reports show that around half of all teachers are dipping into their own pockets to provide basic materials such as paper and pens!

The local elections on 2 May provide an opportunity to strike against the Tories’ austerity agenda. But despite Corbyn’s anti-austerity programme, Labour councillors up and down the country have been doing the Tories’ dirty work.

In my ward of Gipton and Harehills in Leeds, the leaflet for the sitting Labour councillor doesn’t even mention the words ‘cuts’ or ‘austerity’.

Leeds City Council (whose budget this year added £4.5 million to its reserves) has already been forced to u-turn on one of its cuts implemented in the latest budget – passed only seven weeks ago.

Concession prices for a number of council-run attractions went up at the start of the Easter holiday, prompting a backlash on social media from hard-pressed parents.

This joins the u-turns the council made last year on cuts to transport for special needs students and on building a free school academy on Fearnville playing fields, both of which campaigns Socialist Party members were active in.

Imagine if instead of fighting against parents, local communities and trade unionists to implement these cuts, local councillors were working together with them to fight the Tories for the funding our towns and cities need.

On the doorstep we’ve had a warm response to our petition for the alternative ‘no-cuts’ budget for the city drawn up by Leeds Trade Union Council earlier this year.

We’re finding increasing numbers telling us they’re no longer prepared to vote for politicians who fail to stand up for working-class communities.

This is why I’ll be joining Socialist Party members up and down the country in standing to provide a socialist alternative to cuts this May.

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