Residents of Camden protested outside the Town Hall against the Labour-run council proposed, and voted through, cuts of £100 million to local services. People are angry at the threat of 1000 lost jobs, closure of libraries, sports facilities and increased rents.
A wide cross-section of the local population were present, with students and workers of all ages assembling together. The resulting changes to be enacted include; cuts to free nursery and after school provision and special needs education, rents to be increased by 7%, an increased to marry, the Talacre sports centre to be farmed out to an outside contractor, Mornington Crescent sports centre will close, all non-essential building works cancelled, street cleaning scaled back and even hours of street lighting reduced.
It is important to note that Camden is a Labour run council, not Liberal Democrat or Conservative. Members from all parties were quick to blame each other as usual. Apparently, most of the chants by protesters were only directed against the LibDem-Tory coalition government, without mentioning Labour as well.
However, the promise of protest on the day managed to have some impact, with the council backtracing on its decision not to listen to any deputations, and then choosing on the day of the meeting to listen to those eight deputations made by the Unison and the National Union of Teachers, play workers, library users, under-five workers and Defend Council Housing.
Although the cuts package was voted through, the final council decision will be made in February, and further protests and actions are planned. We urge our fellow workers in Camden develop the method of struggle further, and employ Direct Action as a means to fight the cuts.
Pictures from the day can be viewed here