AN ANTI-austerity group will launch its campaign ‘Action Pack’ in Salford today, following a march from Manchester city centre.
The Austerity Action Group is meeting at the University of Salford, to mark the release of its ‘Boot Out Austerity’ Action Pack. The group was set up by the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) following a 100-mile protest march in April.
They say the pack, which contains research statistics and campaigning advice, will assist anti-austerity campaigners nationwide.
— Sixteen Films & Ken Loach (@KenLoachSixteen) November 27, 2017
Today’s campaign launch started with a march through Manchester city centre at 1pm, passing labour movement landmarks such as the site of the 1819 Peterloo Massacre. The march was due to arrive at the University of Salford’s Old Fire Station at 4pm.
The launch event will include speeches from campaigners such as Salford and Eccles MP Rebecca Long-Bailey, as well as a film screening, live music and poetry.
Guy Shennan, chair of the British Association of Social Workers, said that social workers trying to help those in need often have “nowhere to turn” due to budget cuts.
Mr Shennan also said that he hopes the campaign will inspire people to “get involved and take action” against austerity, adding: “One of the best things about Boot Out Austerity is the effect it’s had, inspiring social workers even as far as New Zealand, where September’s Hikoi walk was a direct result of our 100-mile journey.
“So, producing this Campaign Pack now is essential. It will be packed full of ideas which those moved to take action can utilise. “We are looking forward to launching this exciting development in typical Boot Out Austerity style with music, poetry and film to accompany the excellent speakers we’ll be hearing from.”
Local authorities have blamed the government’s austerity policies for record levels of children being taken into care, as family services such as Sure Start are cut nationwide.
Chancellor Philip Hammond was criticised earlier this month for neglecting to acknowledge the pressures facing social care in the budget.
Politicians from both main parties highlighted Hammond’s failure to mention the issue, with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn accusing the chancellor of “letting down” vulnerable people.
Former Conservative health secretary, current NHS Federation chair Stephen Dorrell said that Hammond’s social care spending was “unsustainable”.
Boot Out Austerity’s Campaign Action Pack launch takes place this evening at the University of Salford’s Old Fire Station, opening for food and refreshments at 6:30pm. For more information, see the British Association of Social Workers’s website.