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Bradford councillors oppose cuts

(April 1982)

From Militant, No. 598, 23 April 1982, p. 3.
Transcribed by Iain Dalton.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

For the second year running in Bradford opposition to the Tory-dictated cuts in public expenditure has led a small group of Labour councillors into conflict with the leadership of the Labour council.

Three councillors abstained in the budget vote in protest at an increase in council house rents of £2.27 per week, and a rate increase of 18.5%. This would have meant an increase for the average council tenant of £10 per week since Labour gained control in May 1980.

At a special meeting of the District Labour Party, the Labour group asked for the whip to be withdrawn from the Labour councillors as they had broken the group’s and district party’s standing orders.

“I was elected by my ward party on the basis of fighting cuts in workers’ living standards,” Gary Armitage said in his defence. “Average wage increases in Bradford have been 4% for those lucky enough to be in work. These rent and rate increases mean workers will have to cut their living standards to pay the bills.

“The Labour candidate who recently fought the Clayton bye-election in Bradford on a no cuts platform took the seat off the Tories for the first time since 1946, forcing the SDP into third place in a seat they expected to win.

“It is time that Labour councillors stopped donning tricorn hats, robes and chains and started campaigning for an improvement in services and workers living standards.”

Gary also pointed out that he had the backing of his ward members branch and also his AUEW branch. After two hours of excellent debate the District Labour Party threw out the recommendation to withdraw the whip by 31 votes to 21.

Public meetings will also be organised around Bradford so that workers can express their support for the fighting stand of Militant now and in the future battles against Tory cuts.

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Last updated: 6 May 2017