Defend Newcastle libraries – fight all cuts!

Newcastle Labour council has just announced savage cuts of £90m to the city’s budget with the loss of over 1,300 jobs. Ten out of 18 public libraries are to be shut; the council arts team will disappear along with all but two workers in the Youth Service; the city swimming pool is to be shut and the council will divest itself of responsibility for four out of seven leisure centres. Bin collections will become fortnightly. In the expectation of resistance, Labour will set up a ‘new unit to tackle anti-social behaviour and environmental crime with greater emphasis on prevention’. City council leader Nick Forbes says that he ‘will not let up on lobbying government’ – despite previous admissions that ‘residents [...] will have to do more for themselves and expect less from the council’.

It is clear that the strongest basis for resistance is among those using the services under threat. Over 100 people, including FRFI supporters, participated in a meeting called by Coalition of Resistance in November and established the Save Newcastle Libraries campaign. Local groups are now being set up in the neighbourhoods of threatened libraries in Dinnington, Moor­side, Cruddas Park, High Heaton, Denton Burn, Jesmond, Fenham, Blakelaw, Newbiggin Hall, and Fawdon.

FRFI calls on readers in Newcastle to support these campaigns against the austerity being inflicted by the ruling class. As Martin Levy of the Commun­ist Party of Britain and Newcastle Trades Council quite rightly said at the meeting, if Newcastle City Council insists on pursuing cuts to services then we must make the city ‘ungovernable’ until it relents.

James Bell

FRFI 230 December 2012/January 2013

 

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