Manchester Coalition Against cuts sent the following questions to the political parties standing in the local elections. So far only the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (see response here) and the Green Party (see response here), have responded.
Cuts in Manchester
In 2010 Manchester City Councillors voted through £180 million cuts. These have already had a devastating impact on jobs and services and the lives of thousands of the most vulnerable people in Manchester. The City Treasurer estimates further cuts of between £55m and £80m for 2013/14/15. Will you vote against these cuts if you are elected?
Given that every year 120 billion pounds is lost in tax evasion, and only 1 billion is lost through benefit fraud, would you support a clamp down on tax evasion and closing tax loopholes?
Atos currently has a £100m a year contract with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to carry out examinations for disability benefits. The Atos testing system has already led to people with terminal illnesses and severe medical conditions being declared ‘fit for work’ and having benefits removed. Tragically some people with mental health problems and other conditions have committed suicide as a result of the decisions made by Atos and the stress involved with the process. 70% of Atos decisions declaring disabled people as ‘fit for work’ are overturned on appeal.
Do you support the campaign to end the contract with Atos? Will you protect other vital services for disabled people that are threatened by the council cuts? Do you oppose the closure of the Remploy factories?
Manchester Fire Services
The Fire Brigades Union are campaigning against cuts to the fire service. Manchester is the biggest borough and almost wholly consists of very high and high risk wards. 34% of all wards will have to wait longer for a fire engine seven of these wards are high risk. There will be a 7% cut in fire engines with night time cover being reduced at Moss Side. Crew sizes will also be reduced and this will give rise to safety concerns for both crews and public.
Do you support the campaign to Save Our Fire Service?
Public sector strikes
Millions of people have taken, and continue to support the need for, strike action to oppose the government’s austerity package. Will you support future strike action? Do you support the Unite health workers strike on 10th May?
In Chorlton there is a high profile campaign against Chorlton High School being converted to an academy. Are you opposed to the academy scheme? Will you support the campaign?
According to recent figures the British government has spent £20.34billion on military operations alone in Iraq and Afghanistan, not including soldiers’ salaries or healthcare. Do you oppose the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? Will you oppose Britain supporting an attack on Iran?
Campaigning against cuts
What campaigns have you been involved with to oppose the cuts?