‘They’re sitting on a reserve of a million pounds’: fighting the Cardiff Council
As Cardiff Council cuts millions of pounds from education and mental health care budgets, the public protests and urges them to defy austerity.
Cardiff council announced millions of pounds of cuts to the budget, and Cardiff Against the Cuts have protested against it.
In 2019, the council announced its plans to slash the school budget by 3.5 million pounds, and almost 20 million pounds from service funding, resulting in a protest by members of the Socialist Party and Cardiff Against the Cuts on 28 February outside City Hall.
“We’ve been having cuts for years, and now, there’s nothing left to cut. It’s a desperate situation, especially for education. Schools are expanding and being added around Cardiff, and yet the funding is being cut,” says Geraldine Smith, one of the protesters.
Around twenty people protested outside City Hall, bearing signboards that said “Save our Schools, Stop Council Cuts”, and handed out flyers. Members of the Socialist Party participated in the protest as well.
Ross Saunders, the organizer of the protest, has held similar protests in the past few years, to fight for the same cause. “My daughters are in school. Cardiff council is sitting on a pile of reserve of 76 million pounds. They’ve made a quarter of a billion pounds cuts in the last ten years, leading to the loss of over 2500 jobs. We’re demanding that the Council should fight for the services that we all rely on and refuse to make more cuts,” he says.
The protesters were united in hope, with most of them expressing the wish for their protest to mobilize large support and convince the council to change their mind and come up with a campaign in order to prevent funding cuts. Several urged the council to “defy” the order of the party and make efforts to save funds as well.
“I’m part of the NHS, and I’ve been part of the Socialist party for a long time. My dad was on benefits, so I know how hard it is to have the budget for services and mental health cut. I really do think Councillors should do more to fight the cuts, and austerity should be fought,” says Beth Cameron, a nurse from the NHS.