North Devon Anti-Cuts Alliance rather helpfully share a fantastic idea on their site – a pledge for council candidates to sign to say they will not vote through cuts or privatisation, and will campaign against these strongly. Of course, we’ve seen broken pledges from Lib Dem ranks, but it’s somewhat easier (perhaps) to hold local councillors to account than MPs 300 or so miles away.
With the unitary elections coming up in 2013 – a long way a way, but parties are already lining up candidates – now would be a good time to start pressuring potential – and sitting – councillors in Cornwall to sign this pledge and reject Con-Dem cuts from Westminster. For Cornwall to reject these cuts in 2013 would be a massive step forward for the county (or country, for you Mebyon Kernow members). North Devon Anti-Cuts Alliance have already got around 11 candidates to sign the pledge, and it was organised no more than a few months ago. With a couple of years preparation, anti-cuts campaigners on this side of the Thamar could start a similar process of lobbying council candidates to defend local communities. Arguably most surprisingly, one of those who have signed the pledge is standing for UKIP. Sign of the times?
Anti-Cuts Election Pledge
If elected as a councillor, I pledge to:
Oppose by all possible means, all cuts to council jobs and services – rejecting the claim that ‘some cuts’ are necessary to our services. This will include:
- Rejecting above inflation increases in council tax, rent and service charges to compensate for government cuts.
- Voting against the privatisation or outsourcing of council services • Campaigning to use all the legal powers available to councils, to oppose both the cuts and government policies which impose the transfer of public services to private bodies.
- Campaigning for councils to initially use reserves and prudential borrowing powers to avoid passing on cuts, and to help mobilise a mass campaign locally to defeat the cuts and set a budget that meets the needs of the local community, demanding that the government makes up the shortfall.
- Make strenuous efforts to link local authorities who are willing to fight together to oppose the cuts.