Protests against 'destructive austerity' on budget day

By staff writers
23 Mar 2011

Protesters against the coalition government's cuts policies are using Budget Day as an opportunity to galvanise public support ahead of the 'March for the Alternative' in London, which will take place on Saturday 26 March 2011.

In Birmingham, the country's second largest city, demonstrators are gathering at 5pm outside the Government Offices for the West Midands in St Philip's Place, Birmingham B3 2PW.

Other protests are planned across Britain, while Chancellor George Osborne gives his budget speech in the House of Commons.

An organiser of the Birmingham protest said: "Today the coalition will set out their destructive austerity policies for the following financial year."

"The imminent onset of these measures has had the effect of causing GDP to contract by 0.5 per cent in the last quarter of 2010. The ConDems blamed snow, but Germany (which does not have severe austerity measures in place), grew by 0.6 per cent GDP.

Opponents of the government's 'supply-side' and cuts-driven approach point out that Nobel prize winning economists like Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugmann have argued against stringent measures.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), regarded by most as a barometer of neo-liberal economic orthodoxy, has also warned that if too many countries introduce austerity measures. it could cause the global recession to return.

"We argue that cutting government spending at a time of weak, jobless growth, is not the best method for reducing the deficit, and that there are alternatives," says the Birmingham coalition behind today's demonstration.

Meanwhile, The TUC-led 'March for the Alternative' is due to take place in central London on Saturday 26 March 2011. Up to half a million protesters are expected.

The march will form up from 11am on the Victoria Embankment between Waterloo and Blackfriars bridges and proceed through central London until reaching Hyde Park, where the rally will start from around 1.30pm.

Buses and trains have been commissioned from across England, Scotland and Wales to bring demonstrators to the capital.

The emphasis will be on alternatives to the cuts (www.marchforthealternative.org.uk), which critics say are not reducing the UK deficit, but merely hitting living standards, attacking the poor, weakening the economy and redistributing wealth from those with less to those with more.

Alternative economic approaches are set out at: http://falseeconomy.org.uk/cure

Ekklesia's 2011 Budget coverage and comment can be accessed at: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/Budget2011

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