Thursday, 11 November 2010


County Hall,Taunton    ;- besieged by anti-cuts protestors
  Somerset County Councillors, it seems, can’t act fast enough to carry out the Government’s rape and pillage of public services. At the same time they are bullying people into believing the Con-Dem government’s lie that such cuts are inevitable and that they are behaving responsibly.
On Wednesday 10th November, Somerset County Councillors rubber-stamped cuts which will drastically affect budgets for highways maintenance, social care, education and the arts, as well as removing funding for Police Community Support Officers. In the course of next year, at the jobs of at least 1500 County Council workers providing valuable services to our community will be axed.
Four household recycling centres  in Dulverton,  Coleford,  Middlezoy and  Crewkerne could also close – so much for the Council’s commitment to recycling!
Anti Cuts protestors gather  in Somerset
Councils are struggling to balance their books because the Government’s recent Spending Review hit local authorities with a 45% cut in capital funding. This follows years of underfunding of local government by central government, forcing the run-down of social housing and making local services more expensive by forcing up council taxes.
Meanwhile, the richest 1,000 people in Britain own £336 billion between them, and they are getting richer all the time—their wealth rose by £77 billion last year.
The government could raise money by increasing corporation tax and taxing the super-rich. Yet Osborne has promised to cut corporation tax every year that the Tories are in office.
Over £125 billion is lost every year because the rich avoid paying tax, using “creative accounting” methods.
The Tories’ new bank levy is supposed to show that “we’re all in it together”. Banks that we have already bailed out with over £1 trillion of public money will pay us back at a rate of £2.5 billion a year. It sounds reasonable, until you realise this represents just 0.07% banks’ profits. It is less than the same bankers will pay out in bonuses to themselves this year! Because of Chancellor Osborne’s cuts in corporation tax, the banks will end up with more money, not less, out of the deal.
Glen Burrows  (Bridgwater TUC) speaking at the anti cuts rally
However, these cuts are neither necessary nor inevitable. They are a political crusade by the Tories, aided and abetted by the Liberals, to return this country to the conditions suffered by working people in the 30s, and we must organise now to stop them.
The General Election showed that the majority of British people do not want a Tory government. The Tories, a minority government, would not be able to carry out their long-dreamed of plans to dismantle the Welfare State were they not being propped up by the Liberals. What tragic irony that the architect of the Welfare State, Beveridge, was himself a Liberal!
Bridgwater Trades Union Council calls upon people to get involved in protests and demonstrations at every level – in the workplace and community, by supporting workers taking action to defend their jobs, and through petitions and letters of protest.

Monday, 8 November 2010


Hundreds of angry demonstrators marched through Taunton on saturday  and attended a mass rally to protest against Somerset County Council’s proposed budget, which is set to slash £43 million from public services in the county with a loss of 1,500 jobs. As the sea of banners and placards of parties, trades councils and union organisations came through the town centre, local residents and Saturday shoppers clapped, cheered and waved to the marchers in support. BBC Radio 4 reported the number of protesters as 500 but organisers said the turnout was much higher.

The demonstration was organised by UNISON and supported by the Taunton and West Somerset Trades Council. Nigel Behan, secretary of the Trades Council, said of the County Council’s budget proposals: “This level of cuts will make Somerset as we know it unrecognisable. All areas of spending have come under the axe and there is not a family anywhere that will be unaffected. The people of Somerset are being made to pay for a situation that is not of their making and it is the most vulnerable that will be hit the hardest.”

At the rally the line-up of speakers included the NUT, UNISON, PCS, the RMT, the Labour Party and Green Party. Ross Henley, the Lib-Dem leader of the opposition at Taunton Deane Borough Council and a Somerset County Councillor condemned the cuts and stated that in some cases they would be more expensive to implement than the amount they would save. Rob Thompson, a local sixth form student, condemned the cuts for the impact they would have on the his generation, denying children and young people the opportunities they needed to learn and flourish without having to fear the future. Speaker after speaker stepped forward to tumultuous applause to condemn the cuts outright and deny absolutely the Coalition propaganda that ‘we are all in it together’.

This was the first time for many years that Somerset had seen such a demonstration but UNISON’s campaign organisers agreed that it was only a beginning. An organiser said, “People from all walks of life have today vowed to stand together to defend jobs, public services and communities in Somerset”. She added, “We will organise and challenge the Council in every workplace, every organisation and every community in Somerset. This Tory County Council will never have our support”.

According to the budget that is being taken forward, the cuts are to be taken from the adult social care budget and the special education service. Subsidised bus services, bus passes and student transport will be axed, as will the library budget, forcing some libraries to close. Community policing will be cut, reducing the number of officers on the streets. 75% of funding for youth services will be withdrawn, as well as 100% of funding for theatres and arts groups. Eight household recycling centres will close and the road repair budget will be so severely reduced that an increase in road deaths and serious injuries will be inevitable.