Faith, equality, anti-poverty and trade union groups have pledged increased co-operation to campaign for major income redistribution, protect services and rebuild communities in the wake of coalition austerity measures with Scottish and local authority budgets being slashed.
The People First demonstration comes amid a growing financial crisis and calls for a ‘Plan B’ for the UK economy.
It also follows a briefing to the Scottish Government from Friends of the Earth Scotland, Oxfam Scotland and WWF Scotland and supported by over 30 Scottish organisations calling for subjective measures of wellbeing and a measure of wealth and income distribution to be included in the Scottish Government’s National Performance Framework (NPF). The October 1st demonstration will include the Scottish launch of the Church Action on Poverty’s ‘Close the Gap’ campaign which includes the call for businesses and wealthy individuals pay their fair share in tax.
Writing on Thursday, Ian Galloway the convenor of the Church of Scotland voiced concern at the lack of ‘substantive discussion of poverty’. Saying ‘I sincerely hope that the omission of strategies and initiatives specifically to tackle poverty are not a sign that the [Scottish] Government is abandoning its commitments to work to help those in our society in greatest need.’
Peter Kelly Director of the Scottish Poverty Alliance said:
"It is vital that all those concerned about inequality and poverty in Scotland support the People First march and rally. We need to come together to show that there are real alternatives to cutting services and jobs, and real opportunities to halt the increase in poverty. If Scotland is to become a more socially just place then we need a different set of priorities; priorities that ensure that those voices who are rarely heard are listened to, and that those who need support receive it.”
STUC General Secretary Grahame Smith said:
“All the sponsoring organisations share major concerns about the impact of UK austerity measures on income distribution and services. We are particularly concerned that cuts will be to the detriment of women, those with disabilities and the BME community. October 1st represents a serious commitment to build on existing initiatives to increase the pressure on Government at all levels to find a better way”
John Dickie of the Child Poverty Action Group said:
“If we are serious about ending child poverty parents need jobs that pay a living wage, affordable childcare and more hours of free nursery education, decent benefits in and out of work and the advice to ensure they get the financial support they are entitled to. October 1st People First is a chance to demonstrate support for the action needed to redistribute Scotland’s still massive wealth so that no child is left behind.”
Robin Parker, President of NUS Scotland, said:
“It's impossible to ignore the effects that public sector cuts are having to our communities, just as it’s impossible to ignore the devastating cuts to college budgets and the effect £9000 fees will have on students from the rest of the UK. That is why students will be marching, to put people first.”
The march will leave Glasgow Green at 12 noon on 1st October and a rally will take place in Kelvingrove Park at 1.30pm. Full march and rally details at the website
Guest speaker: Rt. Hon Tony Benn
Chair: Mike Kirby STUC President
Salah Beltagui: Muslim Council of Scotland
Pam Duncan, Inclusion Scotland
Rev Ian Galloway: Convenor of the Church of Scotland
Peter Kelly Director: Scottish Poverty Alliance
Eleanor McKenzie Scottish Pensioners Forum
Denise Mina, author and member of Garnethill WI
Robin Parker: President of NUS Scotland
Lud Ramsay Chair STUC Black Workers Committee
Grahame Smith: STUC General Secretary
Scottish Parliament speakers to be confirmed.
Sponsoring organisations include
Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland; Church Action on Poverty; Church of Scotland; Coalition of Resistance; Engender; Migrant Rights Scotland; Glasgow Disability Alliance; Glasgow School Students Union; Glasgow University Students Representative Council; Inclusion Scotland; Learning Disability Alliance – Scotland; Muslim Council of Scotland; National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns; National Union of Students Scotland; Positive Action in Housing; The Poverty Alliance; Right to Work Campaign; The Salvation Army; Scottish Pensioners Forum; STUC; The Scottish Women’s Convention; Scottish Women’s Aid; The United Reformed Church
For further details; contacts for supporting organisations and technical issues relating to the march and rally contact:
Kevin Buchanan 0141 337 8100 Dave Moxham 0141 337 8100