New Leader but will it be same cuts from Swansea's Labour Council?
29th August 2014
Swansea has woken this morning to the news that Councillor David Phillips has resigned from the position of Labour Group and Council Leader.
Socialist Party members in Swansea don't know what personal or other circumstances have led to Councillor Phillips' decision. There have been rumours of Labour Group members preparing a coup against him in the local press and only last week he sacked 2 leading Council Cabinet members.
It seems unlikely that the change of face signifies a change of policy towards making Con-Dem cuts however.
Swansea Socialist Party members were in the Council Chamber, along with other anti-cuts campaigners, on the night that the Council budget was set. Every single Labour Councillor present put up their hands to vote for £26 million of cuts this year and £45 million over the next 3 years. All of them cheered their leaders on or joined in the mocking of campaigners against cuts.
Since that night, due to further Con-Dem cuts passed on by the Labour Welsh Government, the amount the Council will slash from services in the next 3 years has risen to upwards of £70 million, if reports in the local press are to believed. This makes a mockery of the 'sustainable Swansea' so-called consultation on which services and jobs to outsource or axe in Labour's "forensic cuts" (Cllr Phillips' words).
What is needed is not a change in leadership but a revolution in the Labour Group's attitude to making Con-Dem cuts.
If as Socialist Party members suspect, the Labour Council remains committed to continuing with Con-Dem cuts then we will be calling on trade unionists and anti-cuts campaigners to join with us, under the banner of the Trades Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), to challenge the Labour cuts-makers the next time their seats are up for election.
Every Labour councillor who votes for cuts should consider themselves fair game for a TUSC, no-cuts challenge, regardless of who the leader of their group is.