date: 25 May 2011
embargo: 00.01hrs Thursday 26 May 2011
Building on the success of the march for the alternative against government spending cuts earlier this year, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber is today (Thursday) beginning a series of visits to see the impact of cuts to public spending on towns and cities around the UK, starting off with Chelmsford in Essex.
More than half a million people joined the TUC event back in March, and today's visit is part of the TUC's continuing campaign against the cuts.
The TUC believes that the government's deep and rapid cuts to public spending risk stalling the UK's fragile economic recovery and are already having a huge impact on vital public services upon which many of the most vulnerable people in Essex rely.
In Chelmsford the TUC General Secretary will meet with local trade unionists to gauge first-hand the impact that spending cuts are having upon jobs and services across Essex.
According to the anti-cuts campaigning website False Economy, Mid Essex Hospitals NHS Trust - which provides the majority of services at Broomfield and St John's Hospitals in Chelmsford - is cutting the equivalent of 200 full-time posts by reducing the use of temporary staff.
And according to the GMB union, 11,500 local authority jobs have already been lost or are formally 'at risk' in the East of England, including over 1,700 in Essex alone.
Whilst visiting the town Brendan Barber will also hear how the government's decision to axe the Building Schools for the Future programme last year has had a huge impact on the construction industry and skills training across Essex.
Local building firms have not only lost out on much-needed work as a result but also because there is less work to bid for, these same companies are cutting back on plans to take on hundreds of apprentices.
Construction firms in the county are also feeling the financial pinch as local authorities and housing associations put the squeeze on their building maintenance programmes, as are local companies who manufacture doors, windows and other products used in house-building, illustrating how public sector cutbacks are already beginning to affect the private sector.
Commenting on the visit TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:'Right across the UK, thousands and thousands of public sector jobs are going, and vital services are either being closed or severely cut back as the effects of the government's plans to reduce the deficit start to bite.
'My visit today to Essex is the first in a series of fact-finding trips over the coming months, designed to offer support to local campaigners protesting against the cuts, and to help us find out more about how the cuts are threatening to devastate communities in hundreds of our towns and cities.'
NOTES TO EDITORS:
- Further information about cuts in the Essex can be found at http://www.unisoneastern.org.uk/campaigns/cuts/index.html
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Issued: 26 May, 2011