Thursday, 28 April 2011

Cornwall discusses fightback against cuts

Around fifty people came to the first public meeting of the Cornwall Anti-Cuts Alliance tonight in the Hall for Cornwall, Truro. The meeting drew people from all over Cornwall, from Penzance in the west to Rame, near Liskeard in the South-East, there were trade unionists, members of voluntary groups, retired people and concerned service users.

Steve Ryan, from the PCS spoke about the appalling situation in which £120 million in tax is either evaded or avoided and yet the department which would collect that tax is itself subject to cuts.

Josiah Mortimer, a student from Truro College spoke about how the group had been set-up by students in December as a result of their campaign against tuition fees and said he and other students would support the idea of a general strike.

Ian Williams from the NUT spoke about how there are attempts to co-ordinate strike action between the PCS, UCU, NUT and the ATL on 30 June and how this would put pressure on a weak government.

There were also speakers from UCU, GMB, Save Our NHS (Cornwall), the Volunteer Sector Forum, a student from Exeter University (Tremough Campus) and Rame Against the Cuts.

Speakers from the floor talked about the fact that nurses at Treliske Hospital may go on strike, the need for a new political party, the campaign to create a million climate jobs, and the need to build a mass movement to both defeat the government and make it impossible for any other government to make cuts.

The meeting passed a resolution to condemn the cuts, to campaign against them, to urge the government to instead crack down on tax evasion and avoidance and to call on the government to stop the privatisation of our public services.

The next meeting of the group is on Wednesday 4 May at the Railway Club, next to Truro Railway Station at 6:30pm.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Cornwall local press cover anti-cuts stories

The Lizard Peninsula Tourism Association
The Lizard Peninsula
Two issues that have been raised on this blog have made it into local Cornish media of late. The first concerns the threat of closure to Mullion Youth and Community Centre. This centre also provides nursery care  for under 5s and is the only such centre on the whole of the Lizard peninsula. 

In this article, it is made clear that this is a vital service for the local community that many people rely on, which is being provided by a charity because the council do not provide these services. The meeting discussed the possibility of new avenues of funding to avert a crisis within the charity. Rather than step in to offer even temporary council funding or help to explore other funding avenues, the Tory councillor simply suggested 'table top' sales or a disco. This is not a serious source of funding for an organisation of this sort.

The councillor said she found some comments made at the meeting 'offensive' despite everyone who attended the meeting going out of their way to be civil. Sadly we have since discovered that "Mullion Youth and Community Centre is closing it's doors today and going into administration. Children, young people, families and parents left with nothing."

The council should be ashamed of themselves.

The Cornwall Anti-Cuts Alliance is currenly looking into what can be done to galvanise support across the area to change this appaling state of affairs.

The second issue we raised here was the threat of cuts to Sure Start Children's Centres in Penzance. In this article, which made the front page of the Cornishman, there is a commitment not to close any buildings, but staff will be reduced. Indeed this has already happened and groups have been cancelled or changed as a result. We won't have heard the last of this campaign and will have to be vigilant.