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Liverpool – a city that dared to fight
Twenty years ago, from 1983-87, Liverpool City Council took on the Tories.
The predecessor of the Socialist Party played a leading role in the struggle.
For having the temerity to stand up to Thatcher we were vilified by the Labour leaders.
Yet, if every Labour council in the country had taken the same stand, not only would the Tory government have had to abandon its cuts packages, it would have been swept from office.
Even though Liverpool City Council was eventually isolated alongside Lambeth Council, under attack from all sides, it was able to secure a major victory.
In 1984 it won a ‘95% victory’ when it extracted an extra £60 million in funding from the government.
This was not just a battle of the council but a struggle that involved the entire city with demonstrations of 50,000 and more.
Millions of workers across the country supported the movement.
The results of the Liverpool battle still stand in bricks and mortar. Some of the main achievements of the council were:
Fourteen inner-city and two other housing estates, with a population of over 40,000, were completely transformed.
Five thousand council houses were built, all with front and back gardens and their own private entrances, 4,400 council houses and flats and 4,115 private-sector homes were renovated.
Five hundred extra education staff were employed, six new nurseries opened and four colleges were built.
Six new sports centres were constructed. Sports facilities were free for the unemployed, disabled people, those in receipt of a pension and school leavers.
The council took on an extra 800 workers and 16,489 jobs were created by the house building programme.