By Linus Rees
Hundreds of demonstrators blocked the Euston Road for over an hour tonight (Monday 28 February) in a protest outside Camden Town hall. Councillors were meeting inside to agree a budget which would mean fewer services funded in Camden.
Students joined council workers and community organisations in solidarity against the cuts being proposed. Labour controlled Camden have defended the cuts being made and have blamed the Conservative and Lib-Dem coalition government for imposing budget limits.
Protesters have accused Camden of not standing up to the government and have criticised the nature of the cuts. Members of community organisations across Camden were at the demonstration including Fitzrovia Neighbourhood Association and Holborn Community Association.
Fitzrovia members fear cuts to existing grants when a decision is taken by councillors in September. Holborn meanwhile have already been told of cuts to older people’s services which will mean the closure of their Millman Street centre. Older people’s provision at the Surma Centre in Regents Park estate is also under threat. There is concern across the borough about youth provision and meals on wheels for older people being cut.
The protesters allowed emergency vehicles to pass through the junction of Euston Road and Judd Street (pictured).
In a lighter moment during the demonstration a council officer came outside to make an announcement but had to borrow a loud hailer from one of the demonstrators. A police officer is heard to say “Thank you for the loan.”
The Camden New Journal’s Richard Osley was in the thick of it reporting from inside the chamber during the debate: “Theo up again, jacket off, sleeves rolled up: ‘We are being forced to do it'” he tweeted at one point.
Osley’s last comment was “Labour cuts budget gets through safely. No surprise. Last knockings of meeting now. Won’t get to ‘Theo should resign’ motion.”