Cambridge takes to the streets

On Saturday 12th February over 400 people marched through the centre of Cambridge in a noisy demonstration, organised by Cambridgeshire Against the Cuts, protesting against the cuts being proposed by the County Council.
These cuts will lead to about 450 people being made redundant next year from the Council’s workforce as the Council decides to implement £50m cuts in 2011/12 as the first instalment of a proposed £161m of cuts over the next four years. The effects of these cuts will be devastating for the people of Cambridgeshire.
The almost £3m pounds subsidy to bus companies will be withdrawn which means that 57 bus routes will be ‘phased out’ because they are ‘not good value for money’. 13 out of the County’s 25 community libraries have been identified as possible ‘community hubs’ or ‘access points’ run by volunteers. Funding for the elderly and disabled people will be cut by a quarter and cuts to the youth service are even greater.
It is this ‘slash and burn’ policy of the Council that has produced the anger shown by the demonstrators. People can see that the cuts will affect the most vulnerable in Cambridgeshire the most. The demonstration included most of the main unions in Cambridgeshire as well as many community activists and the ‘ordinary’ people of Cambridge.
On Tuesday 14th February over 100 demonstrators picketed Shire Hall where the County Council was meeting to finalise their cuts. The picket started at 8am and sealed off the entrance to the Councillors car park provoking much annoyance from the Councillors. 25 of the demonstrators packed out the public gallery during the Council’s meeting.
The Councillors were so incensed by some of the comments of the public that they ordered some of the demonstrators to be evicted from the meeting and the police duly carried out the orders and arrested two of the demonstrators.. At lunchtime Unison organised another picket of the meeting by about 50 Council employees.
Although the cuts budget was passed the Council felt the real anger of the people of Cambridge for the first time in many years. Cambridgeshire Against the Cuts has called a lobby of the Cambridge City Council on Thursday 16th February at 5pm when the City Council will be holding their budget setting meeting.

1 Comment

  1. After the launch of a paper airplane and shouts of ‘Resign before you sign’ Cambridge City Council decided to improve their accountability by clearing the public out of the public gallery and so stop any Cambridge residents from watching ‘democracy’ in action. This effectively closed the council meeting for 40 minutes while the police made sure no-one was left in the public gallery. When they were sure there was no one watching them the council agreed a cut of ocer £2m pounds in the budget for Cambridge City and a resulting 41 redundancies in the workforce.
    As the City council met, the the Cambridgeshire Fire Authority was also meeting to ratify a cut of £4.3m over the next four years. A decision that will almost certainly meet with resistance from the Fire Brigades Union in Cambridgeshire and the people of Cambridgeshire. Cambridgehsire Against the Cuts will be meeting on Saturday 26th February to look at how to develop their campaigns against all the cuts.

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