Friday, 27 May 2011


Dalton Road, Barrow, Saturday 21st May
Labour swept to power in the Barrow borough elections held on May 5th but whether or not this is a good result will be determined by the actions of those elected to serve on the council.

Will the new Labour councillors unite to defend the people of Barrow against the cuts being imposed by the Tory/LibDem government or will they simply administer the cuts as loyal servants of that government?  Nationally, Labour Party top brass have said the cuts are necessary so it is highly unlikely that Labour councillors will voice a different opinion.  So, if Labour councillors are not going to defend local people against government cuts, why did local people vote for them? 

Furness Against the Cuts will be asking local people this question, and more, in the coming weeks and report responses in future postings.

Experience on the street suggests people of this borough have yet to be significantly affected by government austerity measures although everyone now pays more for most things owing to the rise in VAT (Value Added Tax) to 20%.  

In a couple of months' time there will be a flood of 16 year olds looking for jobs or places at colleges of further education - but there are no jobs,  the EMA (Education Maintainance Allowance) has been scrapped and, in some cases, free student bus travel has been discontinued. This from the Evening Mail, Thurs 26th May From September, the students will have to cough up £350 for an annual travel pass unless they are from a low income family. 

 Some of these young people will experience the frustration of the Jobseekers' Merry-Go-Round of "I can't get a job because they want someone with experience - but how can I get experience if I can't get a job?"  

We have been informed that the DLA (Disabled Living Allowance) had been reduced for one elderly person. If this has happened to one then it must have happened to others but, so far, nobody else has come forward to report a cut in their benefits or a reduction to the services upon which they rely. Pensioners have had their Winter Heating fuel allowance reduced but, so far, nobody is complaining.

The council is 'pleased' that it managed to avoid raising the level of Council Tax for residents of the borough this year but this was achieved by digging into reserve funds.  These reserves will not be available next year so Council Tax is likely to rise substantially in 2012.

Saturday, 14 May 2011


The leaflet shown opposite, produced as part of the Barrow Trade Union Council's 1985 anti-cuts campaign against the Tory government's reductions in social security benefits, was widely distributed in the area.

During the premiership of 'Thatcher the Milk Snatcher', the Tory government performed a
hatchet job on British manufacturing industry.                                                                                       
It would be a mistake to claim we have no industry left - we just haven't got enough to help the economy grow out of recession.

Meanwhile, the bankers and financiers who created the economic crisis have been bailed out with tax payers' money and are back to the casino economy - gambling with billions and awarding themselves millions in annual bonuses on top of their six-figure salaries.  And the great British public let them get away with it.The Mafia must be green with envy!

And here we are once more, twentysix years later - a Tory government of millionaires cutting the benefits of the most vulnerable in our society but, this time, the 'Nasty Party' is even more nasty than it was under Thatcher and aided and abetted by the notoriously wet LibDems

FURNESS CAMPAIGN AGAINST the CUTS will be holding another street stall and petition in Dalton Road, (near the Workers' Statue), Barrow from 10am until 12 noon on Saturday 21st and inviting people to join 'the movement for change'.

FAC steering group meetings are held from 6.30 until 7.30pm on the first Wednesday of each month at Greengate Children's Centre, Greengate Street, Barrow and representatives who are nominated by officially recognised organisations (unions, community/voluntary associations and charities) are welcome to attend and play a full part in the organisation.  (Maximum of two named persons per organisation)

FAC can be contacted by email (address given in previous posting) or by phone -
Norman 07596721405 or Mandy 07817688835

Tuesday, 3 May 2011


Activists took to the main shopping street of Barrow in Furness with a street stall and petition from 10am until 12 noon on Saturday 30th April.

The message of the campaign was received well by members of the general public who willingly accepted People's Charter leaflets and many signed the petition in favour of an alternative economic strategy to that imposed by the ConDem government.

It should be remembered that the People's Charter was unanimously endorsed by the 2009 conference of the Trade Union Congress.  The TUC frequently issues campaign materials to the various affiliated unions and urges branches to mount and support local anti-cuts campaigns and has done so for the past two years.  

The Northern Region TUC maintains regular newsletters reporting on initiatives by unions taking action against the cuts in the North East and also here in Cumbria. 

Union led anti cuts action has met with some success in Carlisle, Workington and Whitehaven but no unions have actively engaged in the south of the county - Barrow, Ulverston and Kendal.  However, concerned individuals fed up with waiting for the unions to emerge from hibernation have taken the initiative and campaigns are now underway in Barrow and Kendal.

Activists are keen to point out that local union branches, community associations, charities,
and voluntary organisations have been invited to join the campaign against the cuts but, to date, have chosen not to respond.  Perhaps, once the imposed austerity measures really begin to bite, they will rouse from their stupor.

"Either stand and fight or learn to forever live on your knees." It's a simple enough message.

Steering Group planning meetings are held from 6.30 til 7.30pm at Greengate Children's Centre, Barrow, on the first Wednesday of the month.  

Monday, 2 May 2011


The Steering Group held its first meeting on Wednesday 6th April to establish a structure for the organisation that would be as non-bureaucratic as humanly possible!  For example, there would be no elected officials, no committee of 'officers', no Annual General Meetings, no elections, no bank account, no 'agenda' and no Minutes of Meetings.  There would be but two administrative chores undertaken by individual volunteers - one to draw up and maintain a Contacts List available to all members of the Steering Group, and another to record decisions made by the Steering Group to further the campaign against the cuts (these tasks could be undertaken by a different individual at each monthly meeting)

A list of 'agreements' was decided, the most important of which was to hold a Street Stall in the town centre to promote the anti-cuts campaign on Saturday 30th April from 10am until 12 noon.  A rather 'dry' start to the local campaign - we just hope the weather is likewise!