MOMENTUM’S COUNCILLOR NETWORK AND CORONAVIRUS
Labour councillors must be leaders in combating coronavirus. With frontline experience of supporting vulnerable groups, links across communities and power in local government, they are uniquely placed to help in this crisis.
Momentum’s Councillor Network has agreed a set of demands to guide socialist councillors in responding to coronavirus. They include actively supporting mutual aid groups, pushing for transparency in your council while demanding the government set up an emergency pandemic fund for local government. You can read the demands below.
Our Councillor Network brings together existing and aspiring socialist councillors who are committed to promoting municipal socialism, increasing democracy in local government and supporting community campaigns that empower working class people. With meetings across the country and online, the network has focussed on knowledge and skills sharing and the development of progressive policy solutions.
Are you a councillor or aspiring councillor? Join Momentum’s Councillor Network and help build our response to coronavirus!
Momentum’s Councillor Network has developed the following five demands to guide local councillors in their response to the pandemic:
- Set up an emergency pandemic fund for councils. Councils are on the frontline of supporting the most vulnerable, yet their budgets have been slashed over the last decade. We need an emergency pandemic fund for local councils so they can protect people and businesses. This means central government underwriting the cost of freezing council tax, business rates and council tenant rents alongside a massively expanded local government budget so council can provide key services.
- Give councils power to protect the vulnerable. The coronavirus bill will remove council support for vulnerable groups and leave thousands of disabled and elderly people without the care they need. The government must keep statutory obligations and empower councils to support vulnerable groups through expansions of social security, public food distribution, rent suspensions and evictions freezes.
- Support local public ownership to tackle the pandemic. The government has already accepted that the state, not the market, is best placed to lead our pandemic response. The same is true at the local level, and central government should work with councils to bring essential services such as housing, food, transport and energy into public ownership. From a National Food Service to community owned energy companies, the public need to own the services that guarantee their health and security.
We call on Labour councils to:
- Actively support voluntary mutual aid groups. More than 2.5 million people are engaged in mutual aid groups across the country. This is a good thing and councillors, as community leaders, must support these groups by identifying key leaders and organisations, pointing out locations of vulnerable populations and ensuring relief efforts are coordinated with councils, community groups, trade unions, faith leaders, and community organising groups such as ACORN.
- Ensure a transparent, community led response. Senior councillors must ensure that other councillors, party members and the wider community are able to influence their response to the crisis and that the process is open, transparent and democratic.