The Liberal Democrat conference is being held at the ICC in Birmingham from the 17th – 21st September, and the TUC, along with Right to Work, DPAC and all the anti-cuts groups in the West Midlands have come together to create a march, assembling at Granville Street, just off Broad Street, and marching down Broad Street, around the Ring of Steel, into the city centre, up Corporation Street to a rally at Lionel Street car park.
The TUC rally will have Billy Hayes (CWU), Mark Serwotka (PCS), Paul Kenny (GMB) and Christine Blower (NUT) speaking.
Follwoing this rally, Right To Work have a rally starting at 3:30pm at the CWU offices, just around the corner from Lionel Street. Speakers there are John McDonnell MP, Mark Serwotka (PCS), Billy Hayes (CWU), Estelle Cooch (Right to Work), Linda Burnip (DPAC), Maxie Hayles (BARAC) and is charied by Lee Barron (CWU Regional secretary)
The police have imposed the same ring of steel as was used at the tory party conference last year. Sign this statement calling for it to be removed. In Manchester, the Tory party conference march – which is likely to be bigger than the march in Birmingham – is being allowed to pass directly in front of the conference, but West Midlands police have decided in their infinite wisdom to keep us away. Please sign the statement in that link to call for us to be allowed to march past the ICC.
In October last year, 7,000 people marched through the rain in Birmingham when the Tories held their conference here – we can make this march much, much bigger, with the support of the TUC and a year into the coaltion government, we should be getting tens of thousands of people out to call for an alternative to the austerity policies of this government.
Over the past year we have seen our economy falter, with growth flatlining in the 9 months since the first budget review of this Government. We need to abandon austerity policies, and instead develop policies for growth – stimulate the economy by investing in sectors which either need support or which investment would help achieve other policy aims as well. Without growth we will not see the deficit being reduced.
Cuts will not help our economy, or solve our deficit problem. What they will do, and are doing, is cause hardship to average and low income people of this country. The wealthiest are not hurt by these cuts, and are seeing their wealth continue to grow. The bankers continue to receive bonuses for doing exactly the same kinds of things that caused the financial crisis in the first place – and since no reforms have happened to the banking sector, they continue to pose a risk to us.
Across the country this picture is being repeated at every council. Nationally we have seen strikes from public sector workers whose pensions are being attacked to pay for the deficit. There will be cuts to Legal Aid, police and almost every government funded service you can think of. The NHS, which was promised would not be cut, is instead having to find 4% “efficiency savings” every year. Schools are not having their teaching budgets cut, but face the loss of outside services such as the School Sports Programme, and other funding like the schools maintenance budget, as well as the scrapping of EMA which will reduce pupil numbers and in doing so reduce funding to schools and FE colleges.
The Liberal Democrats are not an unwilling partner in this coalition. They are fully committed to the austerity agenda, as we saw when they broke their pledge to vote against tuition fees back in December, or when they failed to impose any kind of reform on the banks, let alone a version of the Glass-Steagall Act.
Join with us on September 18th in Birmingham to call for an alternative to this government and the austerity policies they are imposing on us. To find out more about the alternatives, look at False Economy or our posts on alternatives to the cuts.
Right to Work are running coaches from around the UK.
If you fancy making a weekend of it, the Chainmakers Festival, celebrating the victory of the Women Chainmakers who went on strike in 1910 to get equal wages to men, is being held in Cradley Heath on Sat September 17th.
On September 8th, Birmingham Against the Cuts and Right to Work are holding a public meeting – Build the Alternative, Broaden the Struggle, with Jack Dromey MP, Bob Crow, Jody McIntyre and Paul Brandon speaking, chaired by Caroline Johnson.
We will also be holding many leafletting sessions, so keep an eye on our upcoming events page or our facebook page for details of those events, or email us at BirminghamAgainstTheCuts@Gmail.com or comment on this article to let us know if you would like to help and when and where you might be avaialable.