Conservatives, particularly those in the South-East have been condemning the United Nations Special Rapporteur’s report on extreme poverty and human rights since it was released last week. But with all the bluster from the likes of Eastbourne’s Amber Rudd and Spelthorne’s Kwarsi Kwarteng (who not only dismissed the UN report, but also dismissed the plight of a girl with brain damage who faces losing her home as she moves onto Universal Credit), there seems to be little understanding that most people still actually venture into their town centres. With the rise in street homelessness and the shuttering of shops clearly visible, the sharp end of the political ideology that is so-called ‘austerity’ is becoming more and more palpable to even the most affluent members of our society.
The author of the report, Dr. Philip Alston, is a well-respected Australian international law scholar and human rights practitioner. He has criticised the mentality of austerity and its damage of the social fabric of this country. It pits those who have against those who have not, and large parts of the country continue on largely unaware that 37% of working families in England could not cover housing costs for more than a month in the event of losing their jobs.
It is ironic that Brexit has taken the bulk of the media spotlight away from the UN report. As we move further and further towards the precipice, it is those who are most disadvantaged by the Tories’ life-taking policies who will be most adversely affected by Brexit.
With cuts to services from national government, Conservative-run East Sussex Council have stated that they can no longer support services beyond the bare minimum. But because of government cuts to nationally funded services, the demands for council run social care is soaring - they have cynically increased demand whilst also increasing supply.
We need a Labour majority in Brighton and Hove to be able to ensure we can maintain services and that we don’t go down the route of our neighbouring council, East Sussex. Our new manifesto is grassroots organised and driven by our members – I’m so excited that this will be released shortly.
There has never been a better time to reduce outsourcing and boost our local economy through community wealth building – through a model proven to work in Preston and we look to this shining light in the bleakness of the extreme poverty of Britain, to help us understand what we may do to support the most at risk in our own communities and continue to hold the worst ravages of the Conservative’s fiscal irresponsibility at bay. Community-wealth building isn’t a panacea, but it is a start. It uses the co-operative model, in which an enterprise is jointly owned and operated by members for their mutual benefit. These co-operatives can serve local institutions – such as councils – keeping the profit at a local level, which in turn supports our other local businesses.
We are not going to be fooled by this smoke and mirror routine that our blue colleagues in surrounding areas would have us believe, we know what is happening, because it is happening in some way to all of us. It is only through a socialist Labour council that we can ensure that we protect the most vulnerable in our community from further devastation and work towards rebuilding Brighton and Hove, for the many not the few.