Join protest against government’s cuts, says council leader

LOCAL people are being urged to join a protest opposing the government’s proposed cuts to the public sector.

Liam Smith, leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, called on all parents, teachers and those affected by the to join him rallying Parliamentnext month.

The Trade Union Congress and Unison will hold a joint rally against the cuts on October 19. It will take place between 12.30pm until 2pm at Westminster Central Hall.

Residents of Barking and Dagenham are likely to be hit hard by the cutbacks, Mr Smith said.

He added: “We all understand that we have, and are still going through a difficult economic time. This requires tightening of belts from residents up to the government. However, what I whole heartedly disagree with is the way in which this coalition has gone after the most vulnerable.

“At a local level we have a job to provide excellent services that are driven by the residents’ demands. However, with a hack and slash approach to the public sector we will be seeing a period where we may struggle to deliver front line services that are adequate to the residents of Barking and Dagenham.

“We have already seen the cancellation of the new school builds programme, and with it an increased pressure on school places that the government is gone suspiciously quiet over. This places our ability to build on the amazing achievements over the last few years under serious pressure.

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“We are also likely to see the government cut a significant number of grants we receive in the comprehensive spending review. Without these grants many of our most vulnerable will be left without help in this difficult time, and others will simply not be able to deliver the service required as it once was.

“It is vital that we protect frontline services, protect jobs, and support those in need during this difficult period. This is exactly the opposite that the coalition government is doing. Taking a knife to everything without thinking about the consequences could have terrible repercussions for local residents.

“Therefore we need to tell the government that there is another way. That we will protect public services because of how vital they are to our residents. Protect jobs because this is no time to cut funding so that the less fortunate suffer more. And that it is time that they look to those that caused this mess and make sure they are held accountable and not our residents.”

Chancellor George Osborne announced the controversial cuts at the Conservative conference this week,