On Thursday 20th January members of Northampton Solfed attended a local meeting "Northampton Alliance to Defend Services" at the Guildhall. The meeting was well attended, the hall was packed with between 200 and 300 people. (Which meant we hadn't taken quite enough Catalysts with us!)
The first speaker, Tracey Morel, represented a local charity "Autism Concern" and spoke about the imapct on people with autism, but touched on those needing various types of care. In particular she discussed the implications of changes to disability allowance and the massive problems it will cause to individuals and families.
The second, Mick Kavanagh, represented the CWU and talked mostly about the impact of privitisation of the Post Office, including the implicated attack on the pensions fund.
The third, Mark Serwotka, from the PSCU gave a more general outline of the cuts and what they represented to society, and the need for people accross all sectors to join forces and fight them. He also talked about the viability of alternatives to cuts, based on the fact that the ratio of debt/GDP has been much higher over the last century: notably after the wars, when there were massive building programmes and the NHS was launched.
There were also a few speakers from the floor.
A member of a local resident's association talked about the stupidity of closing a library in an area of social deprivation.
A member of the local tax office spoke (brave man) about the taxes lost through abuse of loopholes, simple non payment and deliberate illegal evasion. He talked about the inconsistency of cutting jobs in tax offices when over £100bn in tax remained unpaid: enough to more than offset the cuts. (He gave a list of the numbers of schools, hospitals, fire stations etc which could be built with just a small proportion of this money: the list was staggering)
A representative of disabled people spoke of the impact of withdrawal of care: her message written on an 'inco pad'.
Others talked of the costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan...
Next on the list for Northampton is a march against the cuts on 12th March.
Feelings ran high in the meeting which further exposed the cuts as being based soley on an anti workers political ideology, which favours the elite, the rich, whilst continually erroding the conditions for the rest.