Austerity condemned, strikes planned in UK

Government spending cuts brought some tens of thousands of people on to the streets of London and other British cities on Saturday in protest, with union leaders expected to call for a general strike.

Marchers carried signs reading "No cuts" and "Tax justice not tax havens", condemning the austerity measures introduced by Prime Minister David Cameron's coalition government in a bid to reduce Britain's huge deficit.

"Austerity isn't working. It is hitting our jobs, our services, our living standards," Brendan Barber, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) umbrella body, told a rally at the end of the march in Hyde Park.

"Ministers told us that if we only accept the pain, recovery would come. Instead we have been mired in a double dip recession."

Britain climbed out of a deep economic downturn in late 2009 but fell back into recession at the end of 2011.


Opposition Labour leader Ed Miliband was also due to speak at the Hyde Park rally.

Protests were also being held in the Northern Irish capital Belfast and the Scottish city of Glasgow.

Dave Prentis, leader of Britain's biggest public sector trade union Unison, said government cuts were pushing hundreds of thousands of state employees out of work.

"We are here for the millions of people who don't have a voice," he said. "We just can't take any more."

But Cameron, whose Conservative Party shares power with the centrist Liberal Democrats, insisted that the measures were needed to balance Britain's budget.

"Today Ed Miliband is headlining a rally calling for an end to every single spending cut needed to clear the deficit," he said in a message posted on his Twitter account.

Miliband was expected to tell the Hyde Park rally that whoever was in government would have to make some cuts, while adding, "I do not promise easy times, but I do promise a different and fairer approach."

London's Metropolitan Police did not provide an estimate for the number of demonstrators, but the TUC said it was expecting tens of thousands of people to join the 4.8-kilometre march. – AFP.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

Advertising

Subscribers only

Poachers in prisons tell their stories

Interviews with offenders provide insight into the structure of illegal wildlife trade networks

Covid-overflow hospital in ruins as SIU investigates

A high-level probe has begun into hundreds of millions of rand spent by the Gauteng health department to refurbish a hospital that is now seven months behind schedule – and lying empty

More top stories

The politics of the Zuma-Zondo showdown

Any move made by the Zondo commission head or by former president Jacob Zuma must be calculated, because one mistake from either side could lead to a political fallout

Museveni declared winner of disputed Uganda election

Security personnel out in force as longtime president wins sixth term and main challenger Bobi Wine alleges rigging.

Pay-TV inquiry probes the Multichoice monopoly

Africa’s largest subscription television operator says it is under threat amid the emerging popularity of global platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime

​No apology or comfort as another Marikana mother dies without...

Nomawethu Ma’Bhengu Sompeta, whose funeral will be held this weekend, was unequivocal in calling out the government for its response to the Marikana massacre
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…