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28 January 2011, 10:10
Dozens of students and teachers are taking part in a protest march in Hampshire today (Friday, 28th January) - over tuition fees and the loss of the EMA grant to poorer teenagers.
It's happening in Havant at 4.30pm – protesters are also unhappy at Government cuts which are forcing councils to axe jobs and services.
Tim Dawes, of Portsmouth Against the Cuts Together said, “These are swingeing cuts in local services, and are bound to affect the key services that HCC provides in Fareham, Gosport and Havant, especially educational support and Social Care. But these workforce cuts are only part of the story.
“ In Leigh Park a battle has begun to save the highly valued ‘Maisy Mouse’ library bus run by HCC Libraries which provides very important support for early readers in an area that really needs this. Third sector providers, like MIND and similar charities, who have contracts with Hampshire County Council and employ large numbers of people are also under threat as these contracts, which are absolutely vital to support the most vulnerable in our society, are cut back or stopped all together.”
Siôn Reynolds, President of Portsmouth NASUWT said, “This coalition government is using government debt as a cover to pursue its ideologically driven demolition of our public services, the likes of which Margaret Thatcher at the height of her power could only hope for in her wildest dreams.
“‘Whilst UK schools need to equip our young people with the skills to compete in the twenty-first century, the scrapping of the Building Schools for the Future Programme consigns many local schools to languish in buildings unfit for the twentieth century.”
The march was called by Ammaar Rahim, a representative of Havant Youth Parliament, and supported by school and college students at Oaklands School, Havant College and Southdowns College. Also backing the action is teachers union, NASUWT, together with the public sector union Unison. They are working with the support of Portsmouth Against the Cuts Together, an informal local alliance against the cuts who held the 400 strong demonstration through Portsmouth on 15th January.