Swansea: Destruction of council services

23rd December 2015

A letter by Alec Thraves, Swansea Socialist Party, on council cuts in Swansea, that was printed in the South Wales Evening Post last week:

Rob Stewart claims the Labour Group on Swansea council has a 'blueprint in place' to deal with major local government cuts (EP 12/12/15).

This blueprint means for this year there will be £35 million of cuts to council services, including the proposal of 640 job losses. All unanimously approved at last week's Cabinet meeting.

These latest cuts come on top of the £50 million 'savings' already achieved, with the prospect of £90 million of cuts over the next three years which will totally destroy local government as we now know it.

The question I asked at the Cabinet meeting was one that is being raised across Swansea by concerned residents and council workers. What is the political strategy of the Labour council in fighting these vicious Tory austerity measures and what is being done now to stop these job losses and service cuts? Not a lot in my opinion!

The Labour Group sheds crocodile tears whilst simply passing down the Tory cuts onto our shoulders. Why for instance hasn't the Labour Group developed a plan to link up with the other 10 Labour controlled councils in Wales, with local government trade unions, with community groups and the Welsh Labour Government, all facing the same attacks, and refuse to implement the Tory cuts and fight for adequate funding for our council services?

The only strategy Swansea council seems to have is a sham consultation process that asks residents to decide what services should be cut and the only discussions they have with the trade unions are over how many council jobs are going and what cuts can be made to workers' terms and conditions!

Labour in Swansea is passively presiding over the destruction of council services and the removal of local accountability. Under Rob Stewart's 'blueprint', councillors will become mere 'managers' of services run by the private sector and council workers will be replaced by volunteers and so-called 'third party' providers.

This is a strategy for disaster!

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