Brendan Barber at Saturday's March for the Alternative

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date: 25 March 2011

embargo: 00.01hrs Saturday 26 March 2011

Speaking later today (Saturday) at the rally for the March for the Alternative, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber is expected to say:

'No part of our public realm is to be protected.

'And don't believe it when ministers say that the NHS is safe in their hands. With over 50,000 job cuts already in the pipeline - nurses, doctors, physios, midwives - in the name of so-called efficiency savings of £20 billion, the NHS as we know it, is already in intensive care.

'And with David Cameron talking about selling it off to 'any willing provider' out to make a profit, the NHS is facing the gravest threat in its history.

'Today let us say to him: we will not let you destroy what has taken generations to build.

'The NHS stands for something different - care, compassion, social solidarity - and let us pledge today to do everything in our power to fight to defend it. Our NHS is not for sale.

'And while the government is planning this destruction on such a massive scale, down the road in the City they're paying themselves £7 billion in bonuses - straight back to business as usual. And ministers have the nerve to tell us we are all in this together.

'With that cynical lie they are taking us for fools - but the British people will not be fooled.

'Let's be brutally clear about these brutal cuts. They're going to cost jobs on a huge scale - adding to the misery of the 2.5 million people already on the dole.

'They're going to hammer crucial services that bind our communities together. And they're going to hit the poorest and the most vulnerable hardest. Anyone who tells you different is a bare-faced liar.

'The government claims there is no alternative. But there is. Let's keep people in work and get our economy growing. Let's get tax revenues flowing and tackle the tax cheats. And let's have a Robin Hood Tax on the banks, so they pay us back for the mess they caused.'

The March for the Alternative will be the TUC's biggest event for decades, and will involve thousands of trade union members, community organisations and people concerned at the impact of the government's spending cuts.

The march will begin to form up on the Victoria Embankment from 11am and around noon the march will set off for the rally just under three miles away in Hyde Park.

At intervals amongst the marchers will be a number of bands including Grand Union - a diverse world/jazz orchestra, made up of musicians from virtually every part of the world - and the Bollywood Brass Band - a brass band playing Bollywood and traditional Indian music.

From Victoria Embankment the march will turn into Bridge Street, into Parliament Square, up Whitehall, into Cockspur Street, and along the side of Trafalgar Square, into Piccadilly, around Hyde Park Corner and into the Park via the Apsley Gate.

Hyde Park is the venue for a rally featuring an array of speakers, films on giant screens highlighting the impact of the cuts and three short music breaks. The rally is expected to start around 1.30pm and will finish at 4.30pm. Other speakers in Hyde Park include Unison General Secretary Dave Prentis, Labour leader Ed Miliband, actor Samuel West, Unite General Secretary Len McCluskey, PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka, NUT General Secretary Christine Blower, NASUWT General Secretary Chris Keates, GMB General Secretary Paul Kenny, Chitra Nagarajan from Southall Black Sisters, CWU General Secretary Billy Hayes and Dot Gibson from the National Pensioners Convention.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

- Many of the roads in central London are being closed for the march, and broadcasters wishing to park vehicles near to the march form-up should contact the Metropolitan Police press office on 020 7230 2171. Parking will be extremely limited near the Victoria Embankment and any vehicles given access by the police will need to be in place before 9.30am, and then will not be able to leave until the last of the marchers has set off for Hyde Park.

- Around noon, the march will set off for the rally in Hyde Park, and approximately 10 minutes before then (but snappers and crews should be ready from about 11.30am), there will be an opportunity for photographers and film crews to take pictures and get shots of the front party line-up.

- While the march is en route, photographers and film crews will be allowed access to the roped-off area at the front of the march, but this will be strictly controlled, as the march has to keep moving at all times.

- There will be a media tent in the Park alongside the secure area behind the stage where journalists can go for information about the rally and to request interviews with TUC speakers. No press accreditation is being issued, but there will be a small area at the front of the stage allocated to a limited number of photographers and film crews carrying press cards. Because of numbers, it will not be possible to grant access to this area for the whole afternoon.

- The TUC will be sending updates throughout the day on Twitter as @march26march - follow us to stay in touch with what's happening. If you don't use Twitter, you can still get the updates on an iPhone or Android Smartphone by using the March for the Alternative phone app. This will display the latest updates, as well as maps and useful information for marchers. You can get it for your phone at http://bit.ly/march26app

- For more on the march including logistical information, visit the website at www.marchforthealternative.org.uk

- The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) Twitter account @CO11MetPolice will be running for fast time communication updating information about the march, and responding to enquiries as appropriate. The MPS has also launched a texting service - to register text for free the word police to 83123, for updates throughout Saturday. The police will also be making use of Bluetooth technology, so journalists are encouraged to switch the facility on. Leaflets will be handed out on the day of the march, and matrix signs along the route will also contain information. The MPS website has a dedicated page on the march and will be updated with information throughout the day www.met.police.uk The 24 hours number for the MPS press office is 0207 230 2171.

Contacts:

Media enquiries:

Liz Chinchen T: 020 7467 1248 M: 07778 158175 E: media@tuc.org.uk (general march enquiries, front of march form-up and interviews with Brendan Barber)

Rob Holdsworth T: 020 7467 1372 M: 07717 531150 E: rholdsworth@tuc.org.uk (general enquiries, front of march and interview bids for Frances O'Grady, TUC Deputy General Secretary, Paul Nowak, TUC Head of Organisation and Nicola Smith, TUC Head of Economics)

Elly Gibson T: 020 7467 1337 M: 07900 910624 E: egibson@tuc.org.uk (general enquiries, media enquiries in the park, until 1.15pm when Rob and Liz will arrive)

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