Fighting rate capping in Lambeth (December 1984)

Des Atkinson, Lambeth Councillor, Stockwell Ward

London Labour Briefing No. 45 December 1984

The campaign against rate capping in Lambeth is gathering strength as it moves to involve all the people of the borough – council workers, other trade unionists and all the people who need our services.

The position of Lambeth’s Labour Group is clear. At a meeting in mid-September we agreed without dissent to a policy of:

  • no rises in rents next year
  • no cuts in jobs or services
  • no rate to be set if the government persists in its use of the 1984 Rates Act

We stand united with the other Labour Authorities on the hit list in demanding that the government return to us the money it has stolen over the past 5 years (over £113 million in Lambeth, almost exactly our total expenditure for the current year).

 

Support of town hall unions

The fullest support of the Town Hall unions has been fostered by a series of 32 workplace meetings where Ted Knight and union leaders have emphasised that solidarity by council workers in indispensable to victory.

,Lambeth participated strongly in the rate capping protest on November 7th, beginning with its own cavalcade from Clapham Common- There was heartening support from council workers, community groups and trade unionists beyond  the Town hall, including teachers and miners.

The Local Government Committee has established its own working party to fight rate capping. Its aim is to bring in community groups and thereby all the people of Lambeth in defence of our services.

Each committee of the council has produced briefing papers for public consultation.

These outline in detail what the 10% cut called for by Jenkins would mean. Council-funded publicity material including posters, banners and a series of four press adverts will come out from mid-November onwards. Rate capping forums involving community organisations, Lambeth Joint Trades Union Committee and the Lambeth Assembly are being arranged.

 

Support the Miners

The Lambeth Labour Parties and the Trades Council are pledged to support this strategy to the full. Much of our work at the moment is in support of the miners. We see the rate capping campaign in its fight for jobs and the future of our community as a logical extension of that struggle.

To summarise, the rate capping campaign in Lambeth is building strongly towards a climax from next January on. We aim to win and we recognise that Councillor’s alone cannot achieve this. Only with the solidarity of council workers and the people of Lambeth can Lambeth obtain justice.

 

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