- Created: Sunday, 22 February 2015 13:53
- Written by Newcastle Branch
On Saturday 21st February supporters of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! (FRFI) in Newcastle joined Parents Against Cuts for a lively city-centre protest against cuts to SureStart and family services – taking their message of ‘No cuts to SureStart – No cuts at all!’ to the streets and holding a ‘People’s Referendum’ on austerity. Below we reproduce a report of the event from Parents Against Cuts:
(For more information about the cuts to SureStart in Newcastle and the Parents Against Cuts campaign see the latest update in FRFI: ‘Newcastle Labour Leader attacks RCG for fighting to save Sure Start’.)
On Saturday at Monument, Parents Against Cuts alongside non-parent supporters held a referendum on the additional cuts to services in Newcastle. 4.7 million is set to follow the already substantial cuts to SureStart services in the coming year and in March the council will vote on whether or not to implement this. The government’s claims when SureStart was introduced were that it was being set up to give EVERY child the best possible start in life, yet now the council are allowing cuts to be made which takes this away from many of our children. Our campaign is built on the idea that this cannot be allowed to happen! Many people believe the council when they say that their ‘hands are tied’, that they ‘have no choice’ but if this were the case then why are they being so cagey about the information they release? Why also is the local Council Leader using local media to attack the Parents Against Cuts campaign instead of standing alongside the communities of Newcastle to fight back against austerity and cuts?
The aim of this event was to engage with the public and try to share what information we know that the council are trying to keep hidden.
First and foremost at the event we created a safe space where the children could play. It is essential within our campaign that the children are involved as they are who we are fighting for and they have needs and voices which need to be listened to. The activities included a fantastic bubble show, juggling, big chalks to draw pictures and write messages and a game of pass-the-parcel which a local busker helped us to facilitate! All the children got prizes and there was a healthy snack to follow.
Some of the children helped us to make two beautiful big ballot boxes in order to give the public a chance to have a real say on what they want – instead of the sham of consultations held by Newcastle City Council – as part of our referendum on the cuts! Needless to say, no one voted for cuts; cuts are not what the people of Newcastle want so we believe that a solution needs to be found to prevent the cuts – maybe this could be reducing the amount of money being spent on private business!
Throughout the event several parents and other supporters had their say on the mic. Updated leaflets on the campaign were handed out and many people who hadn't heard about Parents Against Cuts before came over to see how they could get involved. All in all the event was a big success. Everyone braved the cold temperatures in good spirits for the duration of the event and had a fantastic time; a special well done to all the children, without whom this event could not have been anywhere near as successful or fun!
Anna Snaith, Parents Against Cuts
'Labour Council hear us roar: No cuts to Sure Start – No cuts at all!’
'Nick Forbes [Labour Council Leader] hear us roar!’
RCG banner: ‘Labour, Tory all the same – they all play the bankers’ game’
Parents Against Cuts banners: ‘Our City, Our Children, Our Responsibility’; ‘No cuts to Sure Start – No cuts at all!’
Parents Against Cuts placards
For more information and updates from Parents Against Cuts you can join their Facebook group: Parents Against Cuts
To view our reports of other events in the North East click here.
For details of upcoming North East events click here.