Published in the Morning Star
Anti-cuts activists packed a Manchester hall to capacity on Tuesday night as they staged a People’s Assembly to build the fight against austerity.
The event was part of a Britain-wide build-up to the People’s Assembly in London on June 22.
Manchester organisers had been forced to change the venue to accommodate the hundreds of people wanting to attend, but even the larger Central Hall was filled to overflowing.
Speeches had to be transmitted by loudspeaker to people in rooms adjoining the main hall.
Organisers said there were at least 750 people present, with more arriving as the assembly got under way.
In the first part of the meeting local speakers illustrated the devastating effects of the coalition’s policies, including the disastrous transfer of NHS services to profit-mad privateers.
Health worker and Unite member Jane Lee said: “When you go to your GP for a scan, or a hearing test, or a wheelchair, you will have to go to a private provider.”
She said treatment provided by the NHS for her brother two years ago was no longer available when her sister suffered the same condition recently.
“Midwives do not go out to visit people any more. All these things are being cut from the NHS bit by bit,” she said.
“In Manchester, all the clinical commissioning groups have gone along with every bit of privatisation the government has asked of them.”
Speakers outlined dozens of local campaigns building up against the government, before main speakers Mark Steel and Owen Jones addressed the assembly.
The People’s Assembly movement was launched by trade union and left political leaders as “a call to those millions of people in Britain who face an impoverished and uncertain year as their wages, jobs, conditions and welfare provision come under renewed attack by the government.”
- The People’s Assembly Against Austerity tales place at Central Hall in Westminster on Saturday June 22, from 9.30am to 5pm. Register at thepeoplesassembly.org.uk