I have been a trade unionist in local government
for 20 years fighting for better terms and conditions for union members and against the constant attacks on our living standards. The Tories onslaught of austerity has been the worst attack on members that I can
remember with everyone in fear of losing their jobs and those in work relying on benefits and payday loans just to get by. No one can live on zero-hours contracts. They are barely surviving. The most vulnerable in society are being ground in the dirt with welfare cuts, the bedroom tax and benefit sanctions.
Working people have had enough of austerity. Austerity means as we get poorer and local services are cut the Tories ensure their friends the ‘1%’ get richer.
I am standing to show there is an alternative to austerity. Unfortunately, Labour is just ‘austerity-lite’ and we will still be facing terrible attacks to public services under a Labour government. Their priority is paying down the deficit which will mean us paying the deficit instead of the banks, rich tax evaders and the PFI swindlers.
The millionaire backed UKIP are scapegoating immigrants for the economic problems, which seems an easy answer, instead of blaming the real culprits – the banks.
I represent black members on UNISON’s National Executive Committee (personal capacity) and I am fighting against the increased racism and Islamaphobia in society. This is an attempt to divide and rule working people while the rich laugh all the way to the bank.The only people that have benefitted under austerity are the millionaires. Food banks have trebled. I am really pleased to be standing as a TUSC candidate to campaign for an alternative to austerity.
I have been a trade unionist in local government for 20 years fighting for better terms and conditions for union members and against the constant attacks on our living standards.
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- Immediately stop implementing the bedroom tax.
- Stop all housing privatisation and council house sales.
- Renovate homes instead of handing them over to the private sector.
- Register private landlords to enforce rent controls to reduce rents, and decent standards, and deal with overcrowding.
- Use compulsory purchase orders to buy empty properties – there are a million empty homes in the UK.
- Nationalise the banks and house-building companies and introduce a programme of building hundreds of thousands of new council homes each year.
- Oppose all cuts and privatisation in the NHS.
- Fight the pernicious racism of UKIP and those in the main political parties who attempt to scapegoat immigrants as causing the ills of a failed capitalist system.
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There’s no question that the primary battle of the whole of the Labour movement is defence of public services. TUSC’s commitment to defending these services is unequivocal.
However the call for the introduction of the Public Service Users Bill as currently worded seeks to make the in-house option the default, and require public consultation before privatisation or outsourcing and promote transparency, accountability and social value in public service contracts.
That leaves the door wide open for privatisation with the wasteful tendering exercise not only providing a bonanza for lawyers, but also suggests that privatisation of public services is a serious option.
We would give critical support to the bill, but would seek to strengthen it by moving to delete any provision for private companies to take over public service delivery.
We demand a stop to all privatisation, including the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) and Public-Private Partnerships (PPP). Privatised public services and utilities should be brought back into public ownership under democratic control.
We say re-nationalise all rail, bus and ferry services to build an integrated, low-pollution public transport system. Bring Royal Mail back into public ownership to guarantee our postal services, and bring prisons, probation, and all other parts of the justice system back into the public sector.
We support a high-quality free National Health Service under democratic public ownership and control.
We will demand a stop to council estate sell-offs and to fund councils to allow them to build high-standard, eco-friendly, affordable council housing.
We call for an end to academies and ‘free schools’ and demand good, free education for all, under democratic local authority control.
We are certainly be making public declarations in this regard via social media, media statements, and interviews, always providing we get a fair share of air time from the Media. However we rely on our supporters, such as you, to share this where you can.
TUSC is completely opposed to the renewal of Trident I believe the existing Trident system should be scrapped.
Nuclear arms are unable to protect workers and the poor of the world from aggression. At the same time the threat is used against workers not to protest against terrible conditions.
Let’s spend the £76 billion earmarked for Trident on defending public services, jobs, wages, health and education, and relegate the nuclear arms industry to where it belongs, the scrapyard of history.
Radioactive material from warheads should be permanently disposed of as safely as possible
Workers employed in nuclear weapons production, together with scientists and engineers, should be redeployed on projects of real benefit to society, without job losses or loss of pay. Lucas Aerospace workers developed a plan in 1976 to produce a life support system, transport and alternative energy supplies instead of arms; workers should be looking at similar alternatives now.
The £76 billion planned for the new nuclear weapons should be spent on defending public services, jobs and a future for our young people.
The eradication of nuclear weapons needs a change in the social system. A new and democratic society based on public ownership of industry and workers’ control and management would form the basis of a socialist planned economy.
One of its first tasks would be to end the wasteful expenditure on arms proliferation.
TUSC’s manifesto calls clearly for “student grants not fees” and, if elected, our representatives would use their positions to help organise campaigns and actions to help make that demand a reality.
The fact that the Labour Party hopes that students and their families will be content with a pledge to reduce tuition fees to £6,000 a year shows how far removed they are from the pressures facing most young people.
They, and all the main parties, have abandoned the idea of free education. Of course, it was a Labour government who first brought in tuition fees for higher education in the first place.
Reducing student fees by a third will still leave many students from working class backgrounds feeling that university is something that they cannot afford. For those students who do go on to higher education, then they will still leave with a mountain of debt to go with their degree certificate.
It also appears that the shortfall to universities from a cut in tuition fees would not be funded by the prospective Labour government. This will mean more cuts in courses and facilities. Students will still be paying huge fees for an underfunded university education.
Of course, students don’t just have to borrow to fund their tuition fees. Rents and other living costs continue to rise as well. That’s why TUSC also stands for the return of grants – a system that helped fund today’s MPs when they were at university but which they now wish to deny to a new generation of students.
All the main parties will say that TUSC’s demands are ‘unaffordable’. TUSC disagrees. We do not accept their ‘austerity’ agenda. We know that their is plenty of wealth in our society but that is in the hands of a tiny few who are using the ‘austerity’ agenda to steal back the gains of the past, like free education, from the rest of us.
TUSC candidates in, for example, Manchester include students standing as council candidates for TUSC to help campaign for our demand for “grants, not fees”. I would call on students who support what TUSC are saying to get in touch and help build TUSC’s campaign up to the General Election on May 7.
Across the country members of 38 Degrees have been contacting TUSC parliamentary candidates to ask their views on various questions. While local TUSC candidates have and will respond individually, the questions 38 Degrees have been asking are, in the view of the TUSC steering committee, very important. For that reason we would like to make our views as a coalition clear.
We would also appeal to all supporters of 38 Degrees and others campaigning on these issues: why not use the elections as a means to further your campaign? TUSC is a coalition which was established in order to enable people like you – trade unionists, campaigners and socialists – to stand against the pro-austerity establishment parties. This May we are aiming to have over 100 parliamentary and 1,000 council candidates standing under our umbrella.
If you would like to take part and stand as a candidate yourself check out the candidates page on the TUSC website:
Q1. Do TUSC candidates oppose the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)? What will we do to stop this deal and protect our public services?
Unlike the three major parties, which all support TTIP, TUSC is completely opposed to it. At our 2015 national conference we agreed our general election platform which included: “No to TTIP and all secret austerity treaties”. No wonder TTIP has been devised behind closed doors, it aims to further open up our public services (particularly the NHS) to be privatised and run in the interests of profit, rather than the public.
TTIP would further deregulate finance, genetically modified organisms and fracking. But probably the most dangerous aspect of TTIP is the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS). This would allow corporations to bring claims against states whenever they feel that their business interests have been adversely affected by national laws or policies. It would give, for example, governments an excuse to further accelerate privatisation of the NHS as US private healthcare companies could demand access to run NHS services and be entitled to legally claim against a government if denied.
TUSC opposes all privatisation of public services. We resolutely oppose TTIP now, and would continue to do so if elected. TUSC MPs would help mobilise opposition to TTIP, both through raising awareness but also supporting protests, demonstrations and strikes which can force positive change. We believe TTIP is yet another example of how we need to change the type of society we live in – which is run in the interests of the 1% not the 99%. We will continue to campaign for a democratic socialist society.
Q2. Do TUSC candidates support a crackdown on tax dodging by the big companies?
Yes! While public spending is being cut to the bone, big companies are not even paying the very low levels of corporation tax demanded of them. A National Audit Office report showed that more than 400 of the 800 largest businesses paid less than £10 million in tax in 2012/13 and around 160 paid no corporation tax at all. Imagine how many public services that have been closed – including libraries, community centres and youth centres – could have been saved if these big companies had paid up what they owed.
It is little surprise that big business has got away with this when successive governments have assisted them in doing so. At least 14 of the top 20 donors to the Tory party are linked to ‘tax havens’. But with Labour recently declaring that it is “furiously, passionately, aggressively pro-business” it cannot be trusted to act either.
TUSC’s general election platform states: “Tax the rich. For progressive tax on rich corporations and individuals and an end to tax avoidance”. We also campaign for the cutbacks in Revenue and Customs to be reversed to enable rich tax dodgers to be pursued. However, we think there are also wider issues here. The whole banking system is rotten, based on gambling and speculation. It needs reorganising and rationally planning. But you can’t plan what you don’t control, and you don’t control what you don’t own. Large amounts of Lloyds and the Royal Bank of Scotland are in public ownership, but not under democratic control. Nationalisation should be extended to the whole banking system and tight regulation then enforced in the interests of the millions not the millionaires.
Britain is not a poor country. The problem is we have an economic system, backed up by the main establishment parties, which means vast wealth is concentrated at the very top. The key point is that the minority at the top own and control this wealth, whilst most of us struggle to get by. We think we need a radical change, whereby ownership and control of the main resources in society are put in the hands of ordinary people, and human need (such as the NHS, decent housing and free education) are put before private greed.
Q3. Do TUSC candidates campaign to defend the NHS by opposing NHS cuts and privatisation?
Yes. Historically the NHS has been one of the most important gains made by working class people in Britain. We need a massive campaign to stop it being destroyed; which would leave workers in Britain facing the nightmare of a profit-driven US-style ‘Breaking Bad’ health service. If the Tories win the election they will accelerate the destruction of the NHS. Labour has said it will repeal the Tories Health and Social Care Act, but it has not pledged to reverse privatisation, much of which took place under Labour governments. TUSC campaigns for all the profiteers to be kicked out of the NHS. We demand an end to Profit From Illness (PFI) and for the massive debts it has created to be written off. We oppose all cuts, closures and job losses in the NHS.
We also go further, calling for the expansion of the NHS with free and accessible dental care for all and the abolition of the prescription charges. We call for nationalisation of the pharmaceutical industry, the pharmacy chains and medical supply industry and integrate them into a democratically controlled NHS.
We demand a minimum of at least £10 per hour and a 35-hour week for all health workers.
We also campaign for a democratic socialist society where poverty – the biggest killer and the greatest cause of ill-health – could become a problem of the past.
My name is Len Hockey and I am 53 years old, a hospital porter and a trade union activist of over 30 years standing. I am currently a branch secretary for the UNITE trade union and a Socialist Party member.
I have worked at Whipps Cross hospital in east London for 26 years during which time I have led numerous campaigns including building trade union organisation, against victimisation and against down grading of pay. Also an historic battle to end the two tier workforce which, following successful strike action, secured increased pay and conditions for a privatised, low paid, mainly migrant workforce.
In Chingford ConDem policies have meant vicious attacks including a library closure, the cut of a fire engine and denigration of this service through attacks on workers’ pensions. Also, the slashing of vital children’s and young people’s services, social work services to baby clinics and career services to the youth offending team.
I am proud to be taking part in the biggest left-of-Labour electoral challenge for 60 years: in a coalition of dedicated campaigners fighting for permanent, properly paid jobs, trade union rights, affordable housing, decent public services and benefits, and against the establishment parties policy of austerity, ie. planned poverty for the millions while the super-rich get richer.
Tel 07746 414536
I’m standing to provide an alternative to the mainstream parties and oppose all cuts and privatisation. Labour run Brent Council has just agreed £54 million worth of cuts for next 2 years. This means loss of valuable resources like Stonebridge Adventure playground and childrens crossing wardens. I would support and help build campaigns which pressure central government for the funding Brent needs. I pledge to actively oppose and vote against all proposed cuts. Big issues for me include lack of council homes and rent caps, Benefit Cuts, inequality & low wages, privatisation/academisation of education, council cutbacks, library closures, closure of Central Middlesex A&E and other health care cuts. Rubbish collection & dirty streets and a lack of opportunities and support for young people. The big problem is inequality. In such a rich country with big bankers bonuses, huge city profits and corporate tax evasion there is no reason for austerity.
I have been active in the local area for 38 years as a community activist, socialist, trade-unionist and elected councillor. I have witnessed the carnage of Thatcher’s neo-liberalism and the destruction of vital industries, jobs and public services ever since – replaced by Finance Capital’s casino economy. The bankers are bailed out at our expense – and we’re told that it’s our fault. I am a former Labour councillor, expelled for the successful opposition to the hated and unjust Poll tax. Since 1998 I have continued to hold an advice session every Saturday in a cafe in Northwood Hills – offering help, advice and representation. I have seen enough homelessness, poverty and hardship of family and individual lives destroyed by an uncaring system run for and by the rich. None of the main parties represent us anymore. Even the “Labour” party is as much use to us as an ashtray on a motorbike. We need to build a new party – for real political representation – FOR us, of us and by us. For real democratic public ownership to begin to sustainably plan for the needs of the millions and not the greed of the tax-dodging multi-millionaires. Vote TUSC against cuts on 7th May.
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Meetings and Events Hillingdon/Harrow TUSC fundraiser is Friday 10th April between 8pm and 12pm Greenwood hall, Pinner Road, Northwood Hills HA5 3TJ (nearest tube Northwood Hills)
Phone 07812 063 409