The Council’s consultation on what services to cut, as they attempt to make £45 million of cuts, is called ‘Sustainable Swansea’. I tried the web page advertised in the booklet of the same name that the Council has issued; it didn’t work and I got an invalid website message! Not an auspicious start, especially as one of the ideas they put forward to save money is to “Create online digital services so they can normally be the first point of contact with the council.”
“Should the council reduce the number of people it employs?” is one question posed in the consultation. It is quite clear that the Council sees a large part of its savings coming from cuts affecting council staff. The booklet tries to create the impression that these can be achieved through “..voluntary changes to contracts, early retirement and voluntary redundancy.” The idea that workforce changes would be voluntary cannot be taken seriously when, at the moment, the Council is trying to force through cuts to workers’ terms and conditions and council workers have been told to ‘sign or be sacked’.
Services will also be slashed; the booklet makes clear that “..we will not have the money to continue to do all that we do now.” Those services that survive the cuts could well be a lot less accessible to the people that need them most. ‘Value for money’ is a phrase repeated throughout the booklet and there is a proposal to, “Reduce subsidies to services, increase or introduce charges” for council services.In his Evening Post column, Labour Council Leader, David Phillips, used a strange analogy; he suggested that if the council now is a super-tanker, after the cuts it will be a speedboat. A speedboat might be faster but it only of use to a select few. Does he plan to throw overboard most of the workforce and council service users? Don’t let Labour cut you adrift without a life-jacket, throw them out instead and get councillors who will represent us and fight cuts not implement them. Build Trade Unionists and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) as an alternative to fight all cuts and march, protest and strike together, council workers and council service users united, to defeat these cuts.
Ronnie Job, potential TUSC candidate in next Council/Assembly elections
This is a response sent to the Evening Post to today's column 'From a tanker to a speed boat' by Labour council leader, David Phillips, outlining the options the council is looking at to make £45 million cuts.