Hundreds set to march against service cuts

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MORE than 300 people are expected to take to the streets of Portsmouth tomorrow to protest against council job losses, student fees and government spending cuts.

Organisers say the march is against a government they believe will endanger public services in the city, and across the country.

Jon Woods, convenor of Portsmouth Against Cuts Together, which has organised the march, said: 'The coalition government, which is making these vicious austerity cuts even though they aren't needed, is a weak government.

'Most people did not vote for their policies and it has already shown cracks. A push from below could break it up completely.'

Mr Woods said this march has attracted a greater level of interest than any held so far.

He believes this is because of last week's announcement, reported by The News, that Portsmouth City Council believes it will have to shed 408 posts in the next financial year.

He said: 'We have had lots of interest and this will be the biggest we've had so far.

'We don't know exactly how many, but we hope for 300 at the start. On other marches we've picked up more people as we go.

'It's because of the job cuts announced by the council. It's not just about the job losses, but there's now a real fear that the public services many people rely on will not be able to operate properly.

'We want to send a message to the councillors, too, to say they should be standing up to the government, because enough is enough.

'The bankers who caused the crisis have been let off the hook by the government and will continue to receive huge salaries and bonuses.

'Meanwhile the government plans to cut our services, pensions, benefits and education. We must protest.'

The placard-carrying marchers will head from the University of Portsmouth's library in Cambridge Road at 12.30pm, to the Guildhall, where they will hold a rally at 2pm.

Mr Woods said: 'We're hoping people will come along with musical instruments, too, and make an event of it.

'It's for us to show our disgust with the coalition's policies, and call on the council to stand up for us, but it's also a peaceful and fun event.'