We should not have to choose our cuts

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I strongly oppose the Sheffield Voice Survey asking constituents which public services they are willing to sacrifice on the altar of austerity – in other words, choose your own cuts.

Austerity is a political decision not an economic necessity and if Sheffield Council was seriously worried about the devastating effects of the cuts of jobs and services that it is making on behalf of this callous Tory government it could, quite legally, and should have, set a no-cuts budget by using its reserves along with the borrowing powers that councils have.

If all Labour-led councils were to similarly and simultaneously defy this vicious, but weak, government using the combined billions of pounds they hold in reserves, there would be very little the Tories could do about it.

While councils wouldn’t be able set legal budgets indefinitely using reserves and borrowing powers, it would give them time to mount a meaningful campaign demanding the funding from government.

In any event, the truth about the standard defeatist refrain to the threat that if Labour councils refuse to make the cuts the Government will send in their commissioners to do it for them, is that if all Labour-led councils stood firm, there wouldn’t be enough commissioners to carry them out, especially after the cuts the Tories have made to local government.

The Sheffield Voice Survey like other similar surveys is a crude, cynical and divisive tool used by politicians in a cowardly attempt to deflect blame for their part in the destruction of essential public services and avoid the inevitable backlash from constituents who are at the butt-end of these attacks.

Given all this workers and their families could be forgiven for wondering whose side New Labour, the TUC and most of the trade union leadership are on after their continuing craven capitulation to Tory’s brutal ideology.

With such little opposition and emboldened by their previous unchecked successive vicious attacks on working people’s lives it’s hardly surprising that these cold, hostile, callous, calculating Tory spivs have the confidence to mount such scandalous attacks on working people’s lives.

Tories continue to pit worker against worker without any meaningful rebuttal from New Labour politicians.

But we all know the real divide is not between those in work and those seeking work or between the old and young, or between the disabled and the able-bodied, nor is it between the immigrant and the national, it’s between the rich minority and the rest of us.

Ken Toulson

Carnaby Road, Sheffield , S6