Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Not just in Greece

A large protest in London demonstrated the dissatisfaction with the government's austerity plans for the country. At the same time, a new £33 million safety net program was announced in Scotland.

Protesters march on London to speak out against austerity measures
London protesters
Tens of thousands of demonstrators descended on the British capital Saturday in a noisy but peaceful protest at a government austerity drive aimed at slashing the nation’s debt.

Unions, anti-war campaigners, left-wing leaders, community groups and other activists poured down London’s streets in a demonstration against reductions to public sector spending which officials are pushing through in order to rein in the Britain’s debt, which stands at more than £1-trillion ($1.6-trillion)…

Brendan Barber, whose Trades Union Congress helped organize the march, said that the message of Saturday’s protest was that “austerity is simply failing.”

“The government is making life desperately hard for millions of people because of pay cuts for workers, while the rich are given tax cuts,” he said…

But the right-leaning government did little to endear itself with ordinary Britons when it reduced income taxes for the country’s wealthiest citizens earlier this year. And its leadership has struggled to fight perceptions of elitism which rankle many in this class-conscious country…

Official crowd estimates were not immediately available, although Associated Press journalists at the scene said the protesters were tens of thousands strong. Organizers said that more than 250 buses were booked to bring people to London.

Similar protests were also held in Belfast, Northern Ireland’s capital, and Glasgow, Scotland’s biggest city.

SNP conference 2012: Nicola Sturgeon announces £33m fund to help poor
Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland's deputy first minister has announced a £33m welfare fund to help the country's most vulnerable people…

She also called on UK Chancellor George Osborne to use his autumn budget to aid economic recovery by boosting capital spending, which pays for projects like roads, schools and hospitals.

Ms Sturgeon said: "I have a very direct message for the chancellor today, a message on behalf of every construction firm clinging on by their fingertips, on behalf of every unemployed person desperate for some light at the end of the tunnel.

"Our economy needs a capital stimulus and it needs it now…"

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