A lunchtime protest rally held by Salford Council workers, service users and activists ended with ruling Labour councillors being shouted down as they tried to reason with the very people whose jobs and services they are about to cut.
Councillors Bill Hinds, Joe Murphy and Howard Balkind had appeared on the steps of Swinton Civic Centre, following a full Council meeting where it was disclosed that Salford's budget for next year will not be set until late February.
The councillors had rejected any idea of setting what they called an `illegal budget', arguing that the Government will send in its own team to run the city. But people, who had also heard UNISON officials talk of horrendous cuts to the Children's Department and Social Services, eventually lost patience with the councillors and shouted them down as they tried to defend their forthcoming actions.
One worker shouted "Do what you were elected for and represent the people of Salford…we didn't elect you to make these cuts."
Meanwhile, speakers addressing the protest called for Labour Councils around the country to resist the cuts and make the Government `run out of commissioners' to take over local authorities. Others called for the Government to make the bankers pay for the deficit.
The most poignant moment of the protest came when a UNISON rep detailed the proposed cuts about to made to the personal care budget for the disabled and elderly - £500,000 in 2011, £2.5million in 2012 and £3.5million in 2013, making a total of £6.5million over the next three years.
As more details of the cuts are now emerging, the Salford resistance is growing…
SATURDAY 22nd JANUARY 10:30am-5pm
Greater Manchester Against The Cuts Conference,
Called by Greater Manchester Association of Trade Union Councils with speakers including MPs Michael Meacher, Julie Hilling and Lisa Nandy. The day is backed by a whole range of community organisations, trade union branches, political organisations, student groups and anti cuts coalitions and organisations, including Salford Against The Cuts.
Friends Meeting House, Mount St, Manchester
Further details www.gmatuc.org.uk
TUESDAY 25th January 7pm
Salford Against The Cuts Public Meeting
Salford Arts Theatre, Kemsing walk, off Liverpool Street M5 4BS