OVER 150 protesters filled the steps of Ealing Town Hall in west London on Tuesday last week to protest at the council's plans for £17 million of cuts. West Acton preschool playgroup, Hanwell nursery, the Caribbean Elderly and Ealing Alzheimer groups, Ealing pensioners, Unison, the NUT, NASUWT and Ealing Trades Council all brought banners and chanted 'No more cuts'.
The local paper gave its whole front page over to a picture of just that scene. Ealing NUT secretary Nick Grant said, 'In the storm ahead everything that is not nailed down by parliamentary statute will be blown away. The blank cheque for occupation of Iraq is not there for the local elderly, infants or needy. Even transport for children at schools for the disabled and the ethnic minority achievement grant for schools are in doubt from April. These cuts will mean large-scale redundancies.'
Although everyone was sceptical about the Lib-Dem and Tory councillors who joined the protest, most anger was reserved for the Labour cabinet members who all sneaked in by a back door. Ealing Trades Council is coordinating further protests leading up to a major day of protest on 2 March.
ANGRY PARENTS in Southend, Essex, have vowed to stop the closure of a special needs nursery. Southend Council wants to close Queensway Day Nursery as part of its budget cuts.
Up to 14 jobs will go at the nursery and 25 children will be forced to move to other nurseries if the closure goes ahead. Parent Sarah Tilley says, 'My son Sam suffers from development delay and plagiocephaly, which means his head is misshapen and it puts pressure on his brain. Without the Queensway staff my son would not have been able to walk.'