Later today, a lot of people will be marching through London to protest against government cuts. But that’s quite vague, so we asked a few people what exactly they’re protesting about.
What are you doing today?
I will be having fun walking and chatting with friends and local Green Party members. It is always good to be on streets free of motorised traffic and to see a London in a different way.
Why protest? It doesn't change anything.
Of course protests can change things. People in Egypt have just overthrown a 40 year dictatorship. The suffragettes got women the vote in this country. The recent online petition stopped the government from selling off our forests. Protests don't always work, but there are so many reasons why we have to try to stop this Government from ruining the lives of vulnerable Londoners.
I’m horrified at the perfect storm that the Government is about to unleash in London, with poorer Londoners suffering the consequences of housing shortages, a guillotine-like execution of housing benefit provision, and the drying up of funds to build social, rented housing for people earning below the average wage. This could result in the social cleansing of London, driving poorer residents out of their homes, away from their friends and relations, and into outer London boroughs that won’t want them.
Doesn't the UK have a massive deficit? What's the alternative to cuts?
The Green Party went into the last election with a costed plan to tackle the deficit without decimating public services and destroying jobs. We could start by supporting UK Uncut in saying that it is unacceptable that banks like Barclays make over £11bn profit, but apparently pay only 1% tax.
If the government solves tax evasion, but is still worrying about how to pay for quality services and the NHS, then I'm happy to give them a few Green ideas for free:
- a Robin Hood Tax on international financial transactions would generate £20bn a year even if it was only introduced in the UK alone
- cracking down on the tax evasion and tax avoidance of the wealthiest could raise £10bn in the first year - but this government is sacking workers at HMRC
- scrapping Trident replacement could save us £100bn over 30 years
- and a further windfall tax on bankers’ bonuses and bank profits would ensure that those who created this crisis pay to help us out of the problem.
The way to tackle the deficit is not to throw out of work half a million public sector workers, with a knock-on effect of a similar number in the private sector, forcing more people on to benefits, that the fewer people in work must pay for. The way to tackle the deficit is to create jobs, to keep people's taxes coming into the Revenue, to keep them in work. And one of the fastest job creation schemes imaginable would be our programme for a Green New Deal - a massive investment in renewables and energy efficiency, better home insulation for hundreds of thousands of households, tackling fuel poverty, and helping to create a million new jobs.