Brent Fightback descend on Brent Central MP Sarah Teather's surgery
PUBLISHED: 11:47 01 February 2011 | UPDATED: 15:57 02 February 2011
Demonstrators warn of 'devastating' effects of cuts on local people
Scores of protestors descended upon an MP’s surgery to express their anger over government cuts and broken promises.
The coalition of campaign groups carried their banners through Harlesden High Street on Friday night chanting slogans as they marched to Brent Central MP Sarah Teather’s surgery.
Peter Firmin, chair of Brent TUC who helped organise the lobby, said on meeting Sarah: “It wasn’t a great meeting of minds. We didn’t expect to change her mind and she didn’t change ours. She just said it would be worse if they weren’t in government.”
Ken Montague, of Brent Fightback, handed over a joint statement to the children and families minister accusing the government of ‘an unprecedented attack on public services’.
The group included representatives from the public sector, postal and transport unions, Brent Law Centre, green and library campaigners, unemployed workers and people with disabilities.
Simone Aspis, a member of the Disabled People’s Campaign Against the Cuts, said proposals to slash Special Educational Needs (SEN) funding will force children out of mainstream education and back into specialist schools.
Ms Aspis said: “Everybody has the right to access mainstream education but schools will find it harder and harder to include disabled kids.
“If you go to a specialist school you don’t have the same opportunities, you feel isolated and stigmatised. People should not be segregated at birth. It’s completely unacceptable.”
Solicitors from Brent Law Centre voiced their concern over planned cuts to legal aid which will mean an end to advice for debt, welfare benefits or employment matters.
Ian Kane, coordinator at Brent Law Centre, said: “The proposed cuts to benefits and local services will devastate lives. People will need more, not less, advice in order to cope.
“We believe that the proposed cuts will, in the end, cost far more than the money saved.
“We hope that Sarah will recognise both the damage being caused by her government and that there is no economic necessity for the cuts.”
However there is no sign that Ms Teather will be distracted from the government’s course of action.
She said: “For years Labour spent more money than the country could afford.
“These are difficult times and some difficult decisions are having to be made, but it is absolutely vital that we pay back the massive deficit racked up by the last Labour Government and get the economy moving again.”