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Protest group makes a stand against austerity

Blackpool Against The Cuts protest at the Job Centre Plus, Queen Street, Blackpool.

Blackpool Against The Cuts protest at the Job Centre Plus, Queen Street, Blackpool.

Braced against the wind and rain but not willing to weather the storm of government cuts, a group of protesters took to the streets of Blackpool to demonstrate against austerity measures.

Members of Blackpool Against The Cuts (BATC), supported by passersby and those most affected by cuts, stood outside Blackpool’s Job Centre yesterday.

The group rallied despite poor weather to present a united front both against those making the cuts and for those affected by them.

The Queen Street venue was chosen as a symbol against the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) harder line against those claiming Job Seekers Allowance (JSA).

Ken Cridland, chairman of the group, said: “We’re highlighting the growing problem of the number of people being suspended by the DWP from JSA. There are hardly any jobs and when they’re suspended they have no income.

“We’re outside the Job Centre because these are the people affected. Blackpool is especially affected, it has a low wage economy combined with being a seaside town.

“We want people in the DWP to know we object to what they’re doing and we want Blackpool to know that what the government is doing is inhuman, unfair and wrong, and we want people to know they’re not on their own.”

Around a dozen members of BATC were joined by people hoping to hear about the cause.

An unemployed 18-year-old, wearing one of the distinctive Anonymous masks, said: “The more that come down and support things like this and the more people pull together then the more likely we are to get change and get something effected.”

Blackpool councillor Martin Mitchell was also demonstrating. He said: “I think it’s important, we have to bring the problem to wider attention. The government has created this problem, not ‘scroungers’ and we have to let people know that.”

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