13 October 2010
The Islington group Hands Off Our Public Services (IHOOPS) launched their campaign against budget cuts at the Archway Methodist Church Hall last night as the budget cut deadline inches closer.
An estimated 150 people attended the meeting last night to voice their concerns about the expected cut of one third of public services. The group hopes to organize in order to defend services as well as combat poverty and unemployment in the Islington area. Local MP’s as well as leaders of other community coalitions spoke about their concerns for the budget cuts and how they plan to prevent them. Councillor Catherine West suggested forming broad coalitions to oppose government cuts. Labour Councillor Graham Copp followed up her idea by saying “we need to mobilize people to write to parliament.”
Organizers expect health services, schools and day to day services provided by Islington Council such as rubbish collection to be incur massive cuts, however they will not know exactly how hard these services will be hit until after October 20th when the new budget will be announced.
The coalition unites public service defenders such as the Islington Trade Union Council, the Right to Work campaign, the Islington Branch of the National Union of Teachers, Defending the Whittington Hospital Coalition and the Holloway Branch Labour Party. The new coalition will be chaired by Gary Heather of the Local Trades Council.
Individuals or groups interested in joining IHOOPS can pay an annual fee of only £10 will sliding scales available for trade unions.