Around 80 protestors gathered outside Leeds Civic Hall on Friday 11th February, to protest against the planned cuts of around 3,000 jobs as well as to mental health & leisure services in the city.
Iain Dalton, Leeds Socialist Party
Members of Leeds UNISON, alongside other trade unionists and anti-cuts campaigners joined with mental health service user groups, demanding that the council refuses to make the cuts. Placards outside demanded that in particular the council save the adult social services day centres and Leeds Crisis Centre (see previous report), as well as branding ‘Leeds Labour = Pickle’s Poodles’.
Campaigners over the mental health service cuts in particular demanded to speak to councillors, but most just rushed past ignoring the plight of those they claim to represent. Anger was most heated at those seen most directly responsible for the cuts Labour Cllr. Lucinda Yeadon (Executive Board member responsible for adult social services) and John Lennon (deputy manager of adult social care), with protesters demanding they come out and face them. Yet the cowardly Labour-Green controlled council executive has forced through the Con-Dems cuts agenda.
Although there are various legal challenges against the cuts to adult social services being pursued, the cuts as a whole remain to be passed through the full council meeting on 23rd February. The major task over the next week and a half is to build for as big a lobby of the council on that day as possible. Encouragingly the Leeds UNISON lobby has being backed by Leeds Against the Cuts whilst students at Leeds University are organising a feeder march.