Around 15 people, aged from 7 to 70, met at 11am and marched down the high street, past workfare exploiters like the British Heart Foundation and Greggs, and down the dual carriageway past the job centre and Jack Dromey MP’s office, handing out leaflets and talking to passers-by.
The demonstration was largely met with support, shoppers on the high street stopping to share their stories of unemployment, economic hardship and ideas about what should be done. A few disagreed, still hanging on to the idea that austerity can work, despite the mounting evidence against it.
After the march there were some speeches, talking about how workfare undermines paid jobs, increases employment and fails to help people find work; about the difficulty for young people to find jobs in the midst of the worst economic times for over 100 years; about the closure of education and training opportunities with the scrapping of EMA, increased university tuition fees and the downsizing of Connexions; about the difficulties disabled people are facing with cuts to DLA, the closure of Remploy, the handling of work capability assessments by ATOS and attacks on the NHS; about the general economic situation and what the alternatives to austerity are.
A good demo, and great to see one of our local groups active on their high street, taking the argument to the suburbs, to people’s neighbourhoods and communities, rather than staying in the city centre.