This is a letter signed by 30 Nottingham City councillors which they have sent to the Labour leadership.
Letter to Keir Starmer, Angela Raynor & Steve Reed
Dear Keir, Angela and Steve
As concerned local councillors and trade unionists we are facing a financial crisis that has been exacerbated by the Covid emergency, but in reality has been years in the making as austerity has taken its toll. Local authorities face a financial meltdown. We have, with the commitment of our frontline workers, continued to try and provide services, supported vulnerable residents, develop mutual aid initiatives and have worked to mitigate the worst impact of Covid-19 on our communities. The Government have refused to honour its commitment to councils to ‘do what it takes’. Despite additional money Nottingham and local district councils still face massive shortfalls, without further funding jobs and services will be lost.
We therefore feel that our situation is unfair and unjust. To ask councils to cut jobs & services in the face of this funding crisis will mean our communities will suffer. As Labour Councillors we are demanding action in three areas:
1) LABOUR NATIONALLY LEAD A CAMPAIGN CALLING FOR CANCELLATION OF DEBTS TO THE PUBLIC WORKS LOAN BOARD. Over the last decade council funding has been massively cut. This has forced councils to look to other methods to raise funds, like increasing council tax, raising charges for services and being encouraged to borrow to buy property to develop rental income streams. Policy areas agreed to try meet local spending and manifesto commitments. Covering the annual borrowing costs sucks funds out of our city. Debts to the Public Works Loan Board should be scrapped to give councils a fresh start like they were in the NHS.
2) LABOUR NATIONALLY TO CAMPAIGN & WORK WITH LOCAL COUNCILS ON FAIR FUNDING.
Labour nationally works with local councils to develop a funding framework which acknowledges local needs. To highlight the need for an overhaul of the ‘fair funding’ review. If deprivation, disadvantage & service provision are to be addressed fairly, it can only be done through a system that acknowledges local need in a revised allocation formula. Campaigning for a grants based scheme that fully funds local authorities.
3) AN ACTIVE NATIONAL CAMPAIGN.
The Labour Party commits to an active national campaign, a campaign that mobilises Labour members, the trade unions and our local communities. An immediate demand of the campaign is that any additional use of reserves and any new borrowing to cover extra costs of the current emergency to be fully refunded now.
The councillors named below are calling for the Labour leadership to organise a national campaign, highlighting the crisis facing our local public services and public sector workers. We are calling for this to happen as soon as possible with the leadership making an immediate public commitment to these demands.
Supported by Nottingham City Councillors:
Pavlos Kotsonis, Phil Jackson, Lauren O’Grady, Cate Woodward, Salma Mumtaz, Nick Raine, Steve Battlemuch, Hassan Ahmed, Sam Gardiner, Sajid Mohammed, Ankunda Matsiko, Jawaid Khalil, Audrey Dinnall, Carol McCulloch, Maria Joannou, Chantal Lee, Adele Williams, Cheryl Barnard, Toby Neal, Zafran Khan, Mohammed Saghir, Gul Khan, Neghat Khan, Rebecca Langton, Shuguftah Quddoos, Angela Kandola, Sue Johnson, Dave Trimble, Leslie Ayoola, Linda Woodings
UNISON – Christina Sanna, Najeeb Nazir
UNITE – Carol Starr