NHS protest event in Poplar serving Syrian food to remind us of refugee crisis

East London's NHS campaign

East London's NHS campaign - Credit: Archant

Syrian food is being dished up at a Saturday community protest event being staged in London’s East End today to highlight the growing European refugee crisis. Campaigners fighting cuts to benefits and to keep privatisation out of the NHS are including an Eid celebration with foods from Syria and Bangladesh.

East London's NHS campaign

East London's NHS campaign - Credit: Archant

But the main aim is highlighting the £4.4 billion cut in tax credits approved by MPs on September 15.

“These cuts will be a terrible blow to low-income families,” NHS campaigning GP Anna Livingstone (pictured at a recent NHS protest) said.

“It is devastating that many of our poorest families are now set to lose an additional of £1,000 a year in child and working tax credits.”

Nearly half of Tower Hamlets households have been hit by benefit changes, a Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion report to Tower Hamlets Council revealed last year.

Campaigners plan to show how changes to benefits, the NHS, housing and education are affecting East End families, as well as highlighting trade union rights, the support available for people with disabilities and mental health problems and the unfolding international refugee crisis.

The event is being staged at St Matthias centre in Poplar High Street from 2.30pm, opened by Sister Christine Frost from Neighbours in Poplar community group.

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Tower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs called on the government earlier this month to open the doors to families fleeing the Syrian crisis when the Prime Minister set a limit of 20,000 refugees over the next five years.

He has pledged to invite the families to settle in east London, with its tradition as a “safe haven from war and conflict”, and is looking at how public services in housing, social care, education and welfare will cope.