Anti-austerity march: ‘This is George Osborne’s Nightmare Before Christmas’ warn campaigners

Manchester Evening News 19:53, 24 NOV 2015 19:54, 24 NOV 2015 

Protesters in Manchester’s Piccadilly Gardens warn cuts will ‘take money off our children’ ahead of the Chancellor’s budget

Anti-austerity march in Manchester Piccadilly Gardens

The Grim Reaper was surrounded by five ‘George Osbornes’ at a protest against the Chancellor’s budget.

Held on the eve of the spending review, in which Mr Osborne is expected to make more cuts to balance the books, anti-austerity campaigners from the People’s Assembly warned of a ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’.

Dressed as the grim reaper, Emily Jones, from Levenshulme , a full-time carer for her husband said: “The Tories are just continuing with austerity, making cuts to the NHS budget, tax credits – but funnily enough finding money for war and bombs.

“We are making people aware of how these cuts will affect them. I think people don’t realise.

“Some people feel the Tories are strong on the economy when really they are undermining hard working people they say they support. They are taking money off children. It’s really unfair.

Matt RatcliffeAnti-austerity march in Manchester Piccadilly Gardens
“We are trying to make as much noise as possible to let people know we protest.”

Zoe Cattan, 41, from Levenshlume, said: “It’s going to affect people I know with families.

“Working tax credit cuts will affect them and benefits cuts will affect a lot of people I know.”

An ‘unlucky dip’ featured ‘prizes’ including messages like ‘fresh air only permitted if you are related to an MP’.

Another proclaimed: ‘Anyone who will have their tax credits cut will get a free bag for life’.

Matt RatcliffeAnti-austerity march in Manchester Piccadilly Gardens
While a third added: ‘Anyone in London earning less than £100,000 must move to Birmingham to get free buses into work.”

Of the unusual tactic, Zoe added: “This is a new strategy – we find it helps engage people and gets the conversation started about how they are going to be affected.

Anita Davies, a fellow protester, added: “I will be protesting against the Autumn Statement because the government’s austerity policies are pushing the poorest and most vulnerable people into further poverty.”

Charlotte Cooper said: “It is heartbreaking to hear so many stories of people struggling for basic needs, being harangued for claiming much needed welfare and lacking support from services.

Demonstrators in Manchester Piccadilly Gardens
“We don’t have to sit back and accept the austerity that is being inflicted on the country – it’s ideological and unnecessary and we need to stand up for a more humane solution this week.”

Another spokeswoman added: “This year has already seen cuts to student maintenance grants that will create massive inequality in higher education, the roll back of crucial benefits such as housing benefit, and a threat to the lifeline that is the tax credit system. Now we are faced with further huge cuts to already stretched budgets, which will force more people into poverty.”

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