Public services should be publicly run

In our latest councillor’s column, Southgate Green ward member Claire Stewart calls for an end to austerity

Cllr Claire Stewart
Cllr Stewart has represented Southgate Green ward since 2014

At two years old, my family took me on marches against Margaret Thatcher and her policies. For as long as I can remember I have been part of the Trade Union movement, fighting for workers’ rights and for decent and reliable public services.

After nine years in the Labour Party, I am now part of a Labour administration in Enfield taking radical steps to make this happen.

I have represented Southgate Green ward since 2014. The needs in the north of the ward differ hugely from the south. The last ten years of austerity have hit most people hard, but they’ve hit the hardest in the southern part of the ward, where the need for public services and support from our council is highest.

The threads that make up the fabric of our society are being snapped, one by one, by the acute austerity inflicted on our public services by the government. Local government is the last line of defence for our residents. That’s why Enfield Council needs to take control of our public services – insourcing wherever we can.

Outsourcing is privatisation in everything but name. It damages our public services and workers’ rights. If a private company wants to make profits from public money by cutting corners and exploiting workers, it will. Slashing wages to poverty pay, imposing zero-hour contracts, and removing sick pay, are typical effects of outsourcing.

In Enfield, we say that public money should be in public hands. We are making this a reality. The council is investing £500,000 in recruiting staff to Enfield’s social housing repairs team and has brought our special educational needs (SEN) transport service in-house after the private contractor went into administration.

From a young age I was shown the damage of Thatcher’s policies. This damage has lasted for decades. Now the sea change we need in Enfield against an individualistic, neo-liberal ideology is beginning. By keeping public money in public hands under Labour’s watch, we can bring forward a programme of municipal socialism for the many in Enfield.

Cllr Stewart is one of three councillors representing Southgate Green, along with Daniel Anderson and Anne Brown (all Labour). A roving surgery is held on an appointment-only basis:
Call 020 8379 2852
Email [email protected]