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'Hands off our public services' - Tony Benn backs East End campaign

PUBLISHED: 07:00 21 September 2010

Tony Benn

Tony Benn

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A CAMPAIGN is being launched tonight to fight public sector cuts in Tower Hamlets.

Hands Off Our Public Services, or HOOPS, will be launched with the help of veteran politician, Tony Benn, Tower Hamlets Council leader, Helal Abbas and the leader of the Fire Brigades Union, Matt Wrack, this evening (Tuesday).

HOOPS has been set up in response to Government warnings that the national deficit will force it to cut back the public sector by up to 40 per cent.

Local health, education, housing and welfare campaigners fear cuts of up to £70m could hit Tower Hamlets and are inviting local people to join them at the launch at Bethnal Green’s Oxford House Community Centre from 8pm.

The evening will feature a video of last year’s week-long strike against jobs and education in the borough.

One of the organisers, Richard McEwan, University Colleges Union branch secretary and lecturer at Tower Hamlets College, said: “These cuts will hit the poorest 13 times harder than the rich.

“Young people are feeling the bite of cuts already in the scramble for fewer places at university, with no jobs and are £300 a year worse off because EMA has been slashed.

“We expect huge cuts to adult learning and to teaching English as a foreign language. This borough could really suffer.”

Unions squared up against the Government this week at the Trades Union Congress in Manchester, over the proposed cuts, which they branded “reckless”, warning of a co-ordinated programme of strikes.

HOOPS has also chartered a bus to take Tower Hamlets residents to demonstrate outside the Conservative Party conference in October.

HOOPS will launch at Oxford House in Derbyshire Street, Bethnal Green at 7pm.

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