Suffolk: New front in battle against service cuts

IPSWICH: Trade unionists are today preparing to launch a new front in the battle against public service cuts in the county.

Members of trade union councils, supported by major public service unions and some Labour Party members, are preparing to bring the issues to the top of the political agenda.

In Ipswich, there is due to be a mass “read-in” outside the central library in Northgate Street this Saturday to highlight what is seen as a threat to the library service.

During the following week, homes will be leafleted and people will be asked to send “I Love Public Service” postcards to the UNISON trade union which will then be collected and handed over to the county council before it considers divesting services.

Roger Mackay, from the Ipswich and District Trades Council, which is co-ordinating events in Suffolk, said opposition was rising to proposed service cuts.

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He said: “We had 700 people on the march through Ipswich at the end of November – and that started in a blizzard, so it shows there is a lot of concern out there.

“It may have been a bit quieter over the festive season, but now things are starting to happen again I think there will be more opposition.”

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He said until now much of the opposition had come from the “traditional” Labour movement – but there was now more widespread concern.

Mr Mackay said: “We are now hearing from former council workers who have been made redundant and I think the concern is spreading wider than it has been until now.”

County council leader Jeremy Pembroke said Suffolk was in a position where it had to make cuts of about �40million in order to balance its budget in the next financial year.

He said: “We have made savings of �70m over the last four years and we are recognised as one of the two most cost-effective authorities in the country, but there is still much to do.

“We are working with the unions as we move forward to implement these changes.”

- Are the cuts necessary? What do you think is the best way to protest? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or you can e-mail starletters@evening

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