Hundereds To March Against Govenment Cuts
There are more protests today over cuts to public services
The march is being organised by Norfolk Coalition Against The Cuts, which has made an Alternative Budget which they think could retain services and jobs while tackling the nation's debt. They are proposing alternative ways to save money such as, cuts in military spending, action to create 'green' jobs and the collection of billions of pounds of unpaid tax from tax dodgers.
Marchers are meeting together outside Chapelfield Gardens at mid-day before walking through the city and past the town hall, before returning back to Chapelfield Gardens 1.15pm
Jo Rust, one of the events organizers said "This will be our biggest campaign so far. The campaign is growing as more people realise there is a realistic alternative to the proposed cuts and the misery they would cause"
In response, Derrick Murphy, Norfolk County Council Leader, said:
"A cutback in Government funding means that Norfolk County Council has to reduce its costs by at least £155 million over the next three years. We simply won't have the money to continue to operate as we are presently.
Through the Big Conversation, we welcome views about what we should be expected to do and provide in the future, what should be paid for through taxes, and what we should support, encourage or expect individuals or communities to do for themselves.
The consultation document can be read at www.norfolk.gov.uk/bigconversation, where there is an online discussion forum to share views about our strategy and a way to comment on individual budget proposals. You can also email email@example.com.
As well as meetings with various business, voluntary and community groups, there is a chance for people to make comments on the proposals through the council's residents' magazine, Your Norfolk, which is being delivered to homes this month.
I also respect a resident's right to appropriately demonstrate about our proposed way of handling the reduction in Government funding."
Unison members in Suffolk also took part in a similar march through Norwich last weekend.
Members of Unison - the union for public service workers - took part in the march after meeting to discuss Suffolk County Council's announcement about plans to hand over some services to businesses and the voluntary sector to save money in something called the New Strategic Direction.
They claim by doing this it will do more damage than good to Suffolk's economy and lead to job losses.
They have published a report which has been put together by the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES), who are a independent body, showing concerns that the private sector and voluntary sector would not be able to cope with the extra demand and this in turn would have an impact on the quality of services.
In response, Councillor Jeremy Pembroke, Leader from Suffolk County Council said:
"I welcome Unison's views. We will continue to engage with as many people as possible from across Suffolk throughout the development of the NSD (New Strategic Direction) and during implementation. All of the views we receive will be carefully considered and will help inform decisions made over the coming months and years.
I believe we have a moral duty to protect services for the people of Suffolk especially the most vulnerable in our community.
I will be doing everything I can to ensure that happens."