MP in march against cuts

Police attempt to hold back demonstrators
Police attempt to hold back demonstrators

HARTLEPOOL MP Iain Wright was among a 100-strong crowd from town that took part in a weekend march in London to protest against the “savage” spending cuts.

More than 250,000 protesters from across the country took part in a peaceful TUC rally to show the strength of feeling against the cuts to public services.

But their big day was marred by a separate mob who used the occasion to smash windows, start fires and daub banks and shops with paint on Saturday.

Wearing scarves to hide their faces, they clashed with some of the 4,500 police on duty in Oxford Street, Piccadilly and later Trafalgar Square.

Officers made 201 arrests and 149 people have been charged with various offences.

Mr Wright said he had joined people from “all walks of life”, from NHS, police and council workers to pensioners, students and families, for the peaceful march from London’s Victoria Embankment to Hyde Park.

Mr Wright said: “The aim was to show the Government that by ordinary decent working men and women and young children going on the march, the likes of David Cameron, Nick Clegg and the government heard that there’s an alternative to quick and savage cuts in public spending – don’t cut so deeply and so fast.

“The alternative is to go much slower to reduce the deficit.

“Cutting drastically now means the economic base is being compromised, as well as losing much-needed and invaluable services the people of our town rely upon.”

He had joined dozens of residents on a bus to London laid on by public sector trade union Unison, which left Hartlepool in the early hours of Saturday ahead of the rally.

Unison regional organiser Mike Hill was on the bus, alongside Hartlepool Unison branch secretary Edwin Jeffries and Labour councillor Stephen Thomas, who represents the Dyke House ward.

Mr Hill said: “Teesside as a whole has been disproportionately hit by the cuts and Hartlepool has been a prime example of that.”

Coun Thomas added: “Representing a ward like Dyke House, I see on a daily basis the massive impact that public sector service provision has on people’s lives in deprived areas.

“The way the government is impacting on these services is disgraceful.”

Hartlepool Borough Council has to slash £20m from its £90m budget over the next four years, while Durham County Council must save £125m over the same period.

In town, 73 council jobs are being cut along with 13 local-authority supported bus services, while 150 police jobs are to go at Cleveland Police over the next four years.

Meanwhile, one hundreds jobs are expected to go at Cleveland Fire Brigade, with 60 at Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service.

Easington MP Grahame Morris has also called the cuts “reckless”, saying they will hurt families most.