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15 February 2011, 10:58
About 50 protesters have held a demonstration outside the headquarters of Cambridgeshire County Council.
Members of Cambridgeshire Against The Cuts, Unison and Cambridge Defend Education gathered outside Shire Hall this morning.
They were there to voice their opposition to the Cambridgeshire County Council budget, which is expected to be approved today.
The proposals include £161 million worth of cuts to services and up to 450 job cuts.
Two people, a man and a woman, were arrested during the morning session of the meeting for breach of the peace.
Cambridgeshire Police have told Heart since order was restored, both people were subsequently de-arrested.
Photographs (c) Devon Buchanan
Abby Newton, a youth worker volunteer said: "The government gave £1.3 trillion of tax payers’ money to guarantee private city firms, while the young carers and the children with learning difficulties I work with are left with barely any support.
The organisation I volunteer for is losing 100% funding; the so called 'big society' is due to fall apart."
Tom Hanney, a PhD student at Pembroke College, said: "Councillors should resign rather than agree to such unfair and poorly thought-out proposals.
We are continuing to fight after seeing the devastating attack on university research and teaching, because these public sector cuts are all part of the same regressive agenda."
Chloé Bennett, a local teacher, said: "There are other ways to solve the deficit problem: this country loses £95 billion from tax dodging, and bankers’ bonuses are increasing.
There are even proposals to cut corporate tax on money earned abroad; giving money to the world’s richest corporations while taking it from essential welfare services.
Our city council should be fighting this on behalf of their residents."
Councillor Jill Tuck, Leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, said: "These are unprecedented times.
We know that rises in VAT, fuel prices and living costs in general are impacting on family budgets.
So the first thing to get right is to make sure we don’t add to that, and so we propose not to increase our portion of council tax in the next year.
To deliver our proposed plan, The Council will have to work in a completely different way.
We will be a genuinely local council.
We’ll hand decisions about spending and service provision to people at the most local level wherever possible.
We know that a lot of people are already actively involved in their local areas, and we want to free up communities to do even more and support themselves.
We will focus on prevention - helping people early on, increasing their independence and choice, and helping them to help themselves.
We will make sure that every penny in every pound counts.
We will protect the frontline and will be as efficient behind-the-scenes as possible.
We will only provide services directly when this makes most sense. And we will work even more closely with other public services, the private sector, voluntary organisations, and communities to make sure we’re joined up and providing the best value possible."