A Labour councillor has told voters in Sheffield that there's nothing the council can do to stop budget cuts.
Harry Harpham, councillor for Darnall, whose seat is not involved in this week’s vote, insisted that resistance to the council cuts imposed by central government would not work.
He said: “The fact of the matter is the only way, the proper way, to change things in a parliamentary democracy is through the ballot box. And that’s the only thing that works. They wouldn’t get away today, with what they got away with in the eighties in Liverpool, because of changes in laws.”
Since the last election local councils have had their central government grant cut, which the government says is essential to reducing the national budget deficit. Labour argue that the cuts have fallen disproportionately on northern cities.
Sheffield City Council have been told to cut their budget by £220m by 2015, which will mean the loss of some services.
But Maxine Bowler, of the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition, who is standing for election in Burngreave, said: “I don’t believe it is about managing the cuts. There is an alternative, and that alternative is that we start to fight over these questions.
“The pension strikes that are coming up - we should be supporting them. I believe that we have to fight tooth and nail.”
Both Cllr Harpham and Ms Bowler were speaking at an elections hustings organised by the Public and Commercial Services Union.
Proud of Labour's record
Cllr. Harpham, who works as a researcher for Brightside MP David Blunkett, also defended his party's local and national record.
He told the hustings: “We have transformed the city centre. We have re-built or refurbished all secondary schools in this city. We invested millions bringing 42,000 council houses up to decent homes standard.”
And speaking of the national party, he said: “The minimum wage - we delivered that, and I’m proud to be associated with the Labour Party, and a Labour government, that delivered on that.
“Civil partnership, another thing that was a shibboleth of the left, that the Labour Party delivered. There are some things that I’m not happy the Labour government did do and there are some things I’m not happy they didn’t achieve. However, I’m immensely proud of some of the things they did achieve.”