People urged to join the anti-cuts battle

Amjad Mirza outside MP Stephen Loyd's office
Amjad Mirza outside MP Stephen Loyd's office

ANTI-CUTS campaigners have urged the people of Eastbourne to protest against Government cuts by occupying tax avoiding high street shops and lobbying the town’s MP.

Members of the teaching union NUT, the socialist party and Right to Work Campaign attended a public meeting at Eastbourne Town Hall on Tuesday evening entitled An Alternative to the Cuts.

Paul Brandon from the Right to Work Campaign travelled from Islington to speak at the Eastbourne meeting and told the 20 members of the public present that they needed to work together to fight against the Government cuts.

He said the recent student protests had been ‘inspirational’ and he encouraged the people of Eastbourne to get out and support the students in their fight against a three-fold hike in tuition fees ahead to the Commons vote which took place as the Herald went to press.

He also spoke about chain stores Topshop and Vodafone which have recently come under fire for tax avoidance. Paul told the meeting, “Try and occupy the Topshop and Vodafone stores in the town - send a message that Eastbourne is going to do its bit.”

He also suggested occupying Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd’s office and as a result People’s Thinkers Forum founder Amjad Mirza, who attended the meeting, stood outside the MP’s office in Seaside Road with a placard the following morning.

The Eastbourne meeting was held on the same day that NUT members lobbied councillors at an East Sussex County Council meeting at County Hall in Lewes. East Sussex County Council said it expected to have to save £6.21m from children’s services next year.

The council said services for vulnerable children and adults were under major pressure.

Dave Brinson, who was Eastbourne’s Labour candidate but attended the meeting at the Town Hall to speak on behalf of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), said he was concerned about all the proposed Government cuts, not just those concerning education.

He said, “If we lose these public services they will be gone forever.

“My union used to say education cuts never heal and we need to realise that cuts in public services will not heal either.”

The meeting was chaired by Scott Ripley from the newly-formed Eastbourne Socialist Society.

He organised the meeting because he said 1.6 million jobs set to go in both the public and private sectors would ‘devastate lives, services and communities’.

Scott thanked people for attending the Town Hall meeting and said, “We have lots to be optimistic about. I want this to be a nucleus for something.

“I think we should all work together. We are going to make the voice in this town heard.”

Dave Brinson added, “To quote an old saying, the opportunity to make a difference only comes once in a lifetime and one of those opportunities is now.”