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7 March 2011

Liverpool lobbies council

On Wednesday 2 March, Liverpool City Council met to vote on their disgraceful cuts agenda. 250 angry protesters were there from the start with about 200 more joining them as the protest continued.

Steve Heyward, Liverpool Socialist Party

Mothers whose local Sure Start centres are marked for closure were there, as were workers from the Whitechapel Centre, a valuable support organisation for the homeless, as one in four of its staff are going to lose their jobs.

Other organisations were also there, demanding that no cuts take place to the vital services that all of us in Liverpool use on a daily basis.

The city council was due to meet at 5pm and after marvellous speeches from Tony Mulhearn, Dave Walsh and many others, including a single mother telling the crowd how these cuts will affect her and her children, protesters attempted to enter the building to demand the council set a 'needs budget', not a Tory one.

As soon as the town hall staff were faced with 250 people storming up to the front door, the doors were closed. We were not allowed to enter the building and even the trades council was refused the opportunity to address the councillors.

The cuts will reduce the standard of living for everyone on Merseyside. One particular organisation that provides support for the elderly is having one of their budgets cut by 52%.

This means that our elderly neighbours will lose out on vital assistance with things such as personal care and shopping, as there will be reduced staff employed to help them.

The protest was peaceful, people stood on the pavements outside the building chanting "Save our Centres" and "When they say cut back, we say fight back" .

The protest then moved into the road where we certainly made ourselves heard.

More and more people are beginning to realise that our councillors are not doing what the city elected them to do. Some are realising that there is an alternative to making cuts and that there is the possibility of standing in the May local elections under the banner of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC).

A great response was given to the appeal from TUSC for volunteers to stand as or to support anti-cuts candidates in the elections, and over 40 copies of the Socialist were sold.

We must communicate with local people and spread the message even further that there is no need for a single cut and we will refuse this ideological attack on everything the people of Liverpool hold dear.

We need to continue building for the national TUC demonstration on 26 March and through talking to people, we can make sure that the next demonstration in Liverpool is by far one of the biggest the city has ever seen.

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