The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 1st September 2017

Bristol Mayor leads fight against cuts

MARVIN Rees, the Labour mayor of Bristol, last week warned that the city’s council services are at breaking point because of yet more swingeing cuts. And he has called on everyone in Bristol to come out on to the streets as part of a mass ‘Rally for Bristol’ on 9th September at College Green.

The mayor has borne the brunt of blame for a seemingly endless stream of cuts across the city that have hit public services, adult social care, libraries, school crossing patrols, parks and more, as the council strives to save £106 million by 2022, with council redundancies and cuts coming thick and fast so far this year.

Rees hopes the rally will put pressure on the Tory government to drop plans for further austerity cuts.

He said: “Bristol’s social care and council services are at breaking point because of swingeing government cuts.”

Everything from the city’s parks budget to funding for lollipop crossing officers is being hit, but fundamental services like child protection and social care are also ‘at breaking point’.

Rees said he hoped the event on 9th September would bring together people of all political persuasions and none to celebrate the city, but also how Bristol needs funding, investment and powers from Theresa May’s Tory and DUP [Democratic Unionist Party] Government in Westminster.

Rees is working with the representatives of other large cities across Britain to present a Green Paper to Downing Street on 12th September, which calls for more power and funding for ‘Core Cities’ including Bristol, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and Sheffield.

breaking point

Rees said: “Cities are at breaking point when it comes to council provided services. Across the UK there are Adult and Children’s social care departments struggling to keep up with the costs of rising demand on their services.

“This isn’t right and it isn’t a reflection of the driving force that cities have become in the modern economy.

“What I’m concerned about as a city leader is the cost of the cuts. These short-term savings will undermine our communities and population health and will ultimately cost us more in the medium- to long-term. It’s crucial we take this case to Government.

“It’s important that along with making the case to Government ministers, we get support from as many MPs in Westminster as possible.

“My message is simple, if you believe that there is an alternative to austerity then join with me, the Trade Unions, the People’s Assembly and the people of Bristol on 9th September to show the government and other UK cities that we want change and we’re prepared to take that ask to Westminster.”

A spokesperson for Bristol People’s Assembly said: “We want people involved in this from every corner of Bristol — every community group, social club, creative organisation — every faith, every age, every cultural background.

“Because these cuts are going to affect all of us — they’ll change the fabric of the city itself — they may even get to the things and people we love most, unless we all come together and really step up together.

“I’m talking about a significant portion of this city deciding that they are not going to have it any more — that they aren’t going to have their services and their facilities taken away, their living conditions downtrodden, just for the sake of a few of those at the top getting a good bit richer.

“That they’re going to take to the streets and they’re going to make themselves heard, and they’re not going to just walk away — they’re going to stand up for their rights, they’re going to stand up for their communities, and we’re all going to stand up for Bristol on 9th September against this Government.”

Jeremy Corbyn is planning to stand with Rees to deliver the anti-cuts message to Westminster. “Bristol is at breaking point when it comes to social care and council services and this is an opportunity to display, as a city, our need for funding, investment and powers from central government,” he said.