Backbenchers pledge to vote against cuts
THREE Labour councillors in Hull have pledged to vote against any proposals to cut services.
They have joined a national network of local politicians calling on Labour-led councils to defy the Government by refusing to pass on funding cuts to residents.
The move has triggered claims by opposition Liberal Democrats in Hull of a return to Militant-style activism in the city council's ruling Labour group.
The three councillors – Gary Wareing, Dean Kirk and Gill Kennett – are all backbenchers.
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Councillor Wareing is the best known. He finished second to Karl Turner in the selection race to become John Prescott's successor as Labour's parliamentary candidate for the Hull East seat.
All three are among initial signatories to a statement issued by the Councillors Against Cuts network.
The statement says: "We are a new network of local councillors formed to support the fight against cuts.
"We believe that instead of implementing the Coalition's cuts, councils and councillors should refuse to do so and help workers and communities organise in resistance.
"We do not accept that cuts are 'necessary'.
"There is plenty of money in society but it is in the wrong hands.
"Taxing the rich and business, taking the wealth of the banks and cutting Trident are all rich sources of funds.
"We stand in solidarity with anti- cuts campaigns, with people defending their local services and with the broader community, tenants and residents, our children, disabled people and pensioners in defence of the living standards and rights of the most vulnerable people in society as the Coalition Government attacks them."
The city's ruling Labour group is currently putting the finishing touches to its proposed budget for the coming year.
Details are expected to be announced next week, although some measures, including a switch to fortnightly bin collections, changes to staff terms and conditions and savings through cuts to school clothing grants and scrapping free gardening services for council tenants have already been made public.
Some Labour figures, including deputy leader Daren Hale, have also indicated a council tax increase could also be on the cards.
But Lib Dem Councillor Dave McCobb said: "Taxpayers in Hull have every right to be terrified that Militant tendencies have broken out in the city.
"No one likes the fact that there's less money for local services than there used to be.
"I can see why these councillors are angry with the leadership of the Labour group.
"They got elected claiming that they would oppose cuts but now they are in charge they're voting to make hundreds of people redundant and hike taxes on low-paid workers."