THE PRO-BREXIT Socialist Alternative party has pledged to provide a more robust fight against austerity and lobby for public ownership.
The party is fielding candidates in three wards in the forthcoming council elections on May 2.
Dave Nellist, former Labour MP and city councillor, and standing again for St Michaels, says the Conservative government has cut £120million a year from the city’s budget, exacerbating austerity.
He says the country’s interests are best served by delivering a Brexit for workers – but avoiding a Tory pro-big business departure.
Mr Nellist said: “I helped Tony Benn organise the ‘No’ vote in 1975, and socialists campaigned for a leave vote in 2016.
“In our campaign we are calling for a Brexit that benefits workers, putting the millions ahead of the millionaires.
“We are the sixth richest country in the world, yet our schools and hospitals lack the resources they need. Something is not right.
“Neither remaining in or aligned to the EU will provide a solution to austerity and privatisation.
“For that, we need a change of government, major re-funding for local councils, and socialist public ownership.
“Coventry was once the richest working-class city in Britain, now we have thousands of people relying on food banks, and people sleeping in shop doorways.
“Essential services such as libraries and youth clubs are underfunded, under threat or closed.
“We need councillors who will stand up to government austerity.”
The Socialists want more public housing, and claim the universities’ ‘dash for growth’, particularly with city centre student tower blocks, is leaving local people behind.
Mr Nellist added: “Many debt-laden students face exorbitant rents to make large profits for developers.
“Neighbourhoods are being blighted by changing housing ownership and use.
“We urgently need a compulsory register of private landlords so that housing conditions and fly-tipping can be tackled.”
Mr Nellist says the party has also long opposed the use of private finance in public services and has collected thousands of signatures against what it describes as ‘rip-off’ car parking charges at University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire.
Mr Nellist added: “They are a tax on ill-health and should be abolished immediately”.
It has also called on Coventry City Council to freeze council tax and abandon planned cuts in authority staff, pay and conditions.
It wants the council to adopt a legal no cuts budget and use reserves to offset next year’s cuts and also to link up with other authorities to campaign for the restoration of government funding.