The Labour Party is not the vehicle for shouting and protests – the Labour Party is the vehicle that delivers change to those who need it most. We play our part as members to help level the playing field as much as possible, so that everyone has the chance to pursue happiness. We are not just here to sit in internal meetings that have seemingly no purpose on a dark Thursday night. We are here to create positive and sustainable change. The foundations of the Labour movement’s success are built on seeking representation and influence at all levels of government, with some of its greatest success stories in the last century coming from municipalities.
It was forward-thinking local leaders who would improve living environments, help people into work and provide care to the young, old and those in need. It was local government that would keep the lights on, educate the people, provide libraries and build easily accessible, cheap leisure facilities. It was local government that would sustainably house over a third of this country’s population. It will be local government and a belief in municipal socialism that will deliver the step change we need to build a fairer society. Not from a revolutionary silver bullet that will solve all of the countries ills, but from hard work on the ground to tackle the issues people care about: schools, safety, transport, social care and – yes – bins.
Vital services that local government provides are now under constant fire from austerity handed down from Whitehall. Our hard-working and committed councillors are all too often sitting in meetings where they decide not what programmes to build and develop, but what to take away through budgetary triage.
We in the Labour movement need to do whatever we can to help our comrades who are on the frontline. Whether that’s going out on the doorstep to support them in their wards, attending local meetings to advocate on their behalf or participating imaginatively in the policy creation process.
The Fabian Society’s founder, Sidney Webb, once said: “We, as socialists, much cherish local government”. That is why we as Young Fabians decided to produce a report on the severe financial challenges facing our local authorities.
Join us for the launch of ‘Local Government Under Fire: How Labour can respond to the funding crisis’, on Tuesday 25th September at 8.30-10am in the Lecture Theatre at the Merseyside Maritime Museum, Albert Dock, Liverpool, L3 4AQ.
Our report was produced as a collaboration between the Young Fabians’ own Economy & Finance and Devolution & Local Government policy networks with support from the Local Government Association Labour Group. It sets out the current state of local government finance, explores how Labour councils across England are innovating in response to austerity and suggests policies the next Labour government could explore to end the cycles of austerity and the shortage of affordable housing.
We will be joined by Young Fabian members alongside Cllr Clare Coghill (leader of Waltham Forest Council), Cllr Mili Patel (lead member for children’s safeguarding, early help & social care at Brent Council); Cllr Michael Payne (deputy leader of the LGA Labour Group), and Cllr Steve Battlemuch (chair of Robin Hood Energy in Nottingham).
Click here to know more about the event and RSVP, or get in touch with Adam Allnutt, Young Fabians local government policy liaison, on [email protected]. To hear more about the ongoing work of these policy networks and get involved, subscribe to mailing lists here.