The Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, David Ison, has lead prayers at a multifaith act of remembrance for people who have died or suffered as a result of UK government cuts. It took place at noon on Saturday 28 September 2013 in Parliament Square, London.
The event, entitled 10,000 Cuts and Counting, has been organised by Occupy London and Disabled People Against Cuts, with support from groups including Christianity Uncut, a network of Christians campaigning against the government’s cuts agenda.
The gathering demanded an end to the Work Capability Assessment, widely seen as a mechanism for removing disabled people’s benefits.
Official figures show that 10,600 people died in 2011 within six weeks of going through the assessment. Many speakers at the event have first-hand experience of the pain and suffering inflicted by government cuts.
People of many religions and none took part in the act of remembrance. Other speakers included Muslim commentator Mohammed Ansar and Labour MP Michael Meacher.
Christianity Uncut has applauded the Dean of St Paul’s for taking this public stand, despite their past disagreements. Five Christianity Uncut members were removed from the cathedral steps by police while praying during the eviction of Occupy London Stock Exchange in 2012.
“We are really pleased to be working alongside David Ison to hold this act of remembrance and solidarity," said Siobhan Grimes, one of those removed from the steps last year, who has been involved in organising this event.
She added, "Together we are focusing on the reality of government policies that are snatching away the livelihoods of thousands of disabled people and punishing the poor for the sins of the rich."
Grimes urged other church leaders to "follow the Dean’s example by speaking out publicly about the death and destruction that the cuts are bringing.”
More information about the act of remembrance can be found at http://www.10kcuts.org.