Belfast Telegraph

Blood and Carroll unite for Belfast anti-austerity march

By Suzanne Breen

A west Belfast MLA is joining forces with a Shankill Road peer to organise a rally in Belfast against the Tory Government.

The anti-austerity demonstration will be held at City Hall next month on the day the Conservative Party conference opens in Manchester.

In an open letter that will be sent to trade unions and community groups, People Before Profit MLA Gerry Carroll and Baroness May Blood appeal for support for their rally against planned cuts to health and education.

"On 1st October, to coincide with the Tory Party conference, we are calling for a mass demonstration to protest against this rotten government," they declare.

"We encourage people to attend in large numbers with their families, workmates, trade unions and community groups. We will stand up for the most vulnerable in our society to demand an alternative, more equal future."

Mr Carroll told the Belfast Telegraph: "This protest will be a long overdue manifestation of the anger that has built up in communities after nearly a decade of cutbacks.

"Our public sector and community groups have been decimated.

"We're facing a health crisis that threatens the lives of vulnerable people and a devastating housing crisis that has left single mothers and their children on the streets.

"Last week, we were told that we could see a further £70m cut from health, and schools getting even less for pupils. People are rightly furious.

"The most vulnerable in our society are being asked to pay the price for austerity yet again."

Mr Carroll said that he and Baroness Blood were calling on "community groups, trade unions, political parties and individuals" to join them in "calling out the Tory/DUP coalition of chaos" and to "stand in solidarity" with those bearing the brunt of cuts.

Baroness Blood added: "If you are angry about how your elected politicians are speaking for you, this is your opportunity to show the strength of people power and how wrong they are."

In their joint letter, the People Before Profit MLA and the Labour peer launch a hard-hitting attack on Theresa May's Government.

"Austerity is destroying the social fabric of our society and recently announced health cuts to the tune of £70 million will have unspeakable effects, hitting those in poverty the hardest," they state.

They also condemn the "DUP's disgraceful role in propping up the Tory party" and demand that Mrs May "properly fund public services, decent wages and homes for those who desperately need them".

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