Bedford Elections: Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidate pledges to fight increases in council charges and privatisation

Paul Mannion is standing in the Greyfriars ward
Paul MannionPaul Mannion
Paul Mannion

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidate for Greyfriars ward said he will fight increases in council charges and any plans to privatise council services.

Paul Mannion said if elected he will vote against the privatisation of council jobs and services or the transfer of existing council services to ‘arms length’ management organisations.

“[These] are usually the first step towards privatisation,” he said.

“I will vote against council tax, rent and service charge increases which are just about putting the cuts in central funding on the backs of the poor and working class.

“I will fight to put down an emergency motion to make sure that no one in Bedford borough faces cold, hunger or homelessness.

“These are the result of political choices and councillors should loudly say so,” he said.

“Whenever there is talk of ‘tough choices’ having to be made, why must these always fall on the backs of the poor and working class?” he asked.

“We need councils to come up with redistributive revenue raising schemes to change this approach.”

Paul is a trade unionist and postal worker who has worked in the ward for the last eight years.

He explained that the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) was set up to enable trade unionists, community campaigners, and socialists to stand against the pro-austerity establishment parties.

“This is what attracted me to it, it is a genuine broad church,” he said.

“TUSC isn’t just another electoral party, we’re trying to build a movement and therefore we don’t see electoral politics as the be all and end all.

“On this basis we’ve spoken to Greyfriars voters who are unsure about voting for a TUSC candidate on this occasion, but are very much interested in TUSC as a movement.

“They want us to stay in touch with them, so this is encouraging,” he said.

“The main concerns of the voters we’ve spoken too have been a combination of the cost of living crisis and the problem of crime within the ward.

“Invariably drug abuse and anti-social behaviour seem to loom large and in many ways they are interlinked.

“The reality is you can’t be a party of austerity and a party of law and order.

“Greyfriars ward needs vast investment across the board to help bring down crime and alleviate the cost of living crisis.

“That is what I’ll fight for on the borough council, we can’t just keep on meekly accepting funding cuts from central government time and time again,” he said.

“There must be a permanent rear-guard campaign and movement against these attacks on the community.

“For this is what they are,” he said.

Residents can follow Paul’s campaign on Facebook or they can email him at [email protected].

“No one is coming to rescue us – but us,” Paul said.

“Real lasting social change has always come from below, it has not been handed down from above.

“So I’d urge people to consider joining TUSC as a movement for change and voting TUSC on May 4,” he said.

A list of the candidates standing in the Greyfriars Ward can be found here.