Brendan Barber's speech at the TUC March for the Alternative rally

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date: 26 March 2011

embargo: For immediate release

'It's fantastic to see so many people here today.

'Thousands here in Hyde Park. Thousands still on the march. And tens of thousands more not even set off yet from the Embankment.

'Together we are sending a clear message to the government: that we are strong and united, that we will fight their savage cuts and that we will not let them destroy people's services, people's jobs and people's lives.

'Young and old, black and white, men and women we have come from every walk of life and every part of Britain.

'Trade unionists, members of voluntary groups and local community organisations, people terrified of losing their jobs and what that means for their families, people who see the axe looming over absolutely vital services on which they rely, the home helps for the elderly, the Sure Start Centres for children, the refuges for the victims of violent domestic abuse.

'We've come together not just to oppose the cuts, but to call for a new approach to rebuilding our economy rooted in social justice, in place of this tide of economic destruction.

'Because that's what we've got, as the coalition government has turned in to a demolition government.

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

'And don't believe it when they 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.

'Let's be clear - 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.

'Yet you know 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 cuts.

'They're going to cost jobs on a huge scale - adding to the misery of the two and a half 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.

'And anyone who tells you different is a bare-faced liar.

'The government claim 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.

'So today let our message go out loud and clear.

'That now is the time for change.

'That we are not going to go away.

'That this is just the beginning of our campaign - and we will fight the government's brutal cuts in our workplaces and our communities.

'Today we are speaking for the people of Britain. David Cameron, if you want to meet the Big Society, we're here in Hyde Park.

'It's time you started listening.'


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