Students march to make their voices heard

ANGRY Campaigners march through Havant.   Picture: Malcolm Wells (110321-9578)
ANGRY Campaigners march through Havant. Picture: Malcolm Wells (110321-9578)
Picture: Paul Riddell

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CROWDS of young people led a march through Havant to protest against the government’s planned rise in tuition fees and cuts to education spending.

Hundreds of students, union members, public service workers and campaigners carried banners and chanted slogans as they walked from Havant Park to a rally outside St Faith’s Church, in West Street.

The coalition government has proposed to raise the cap on tuition fees up to £9,000 and scrap the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA), which helps poorer students.

After their rally, a delegation of protesters met with MP for Havant, and minister for universities, David Willetts, to voice their opposition to the government’s plans.

The march was organised by 15-year-old Ammaar Rahim, a representative of the Havant Youth Parliament, and was backed by NASUWT, the teachers’ union, and Unison, the public sector trade union.

He said: ‘I wanted to come here to speak to David Willetts and show him that the youth of this country does have a voice.

‘These cuts and changes to schools and universities affect us the most, and it is not fair that we are paying for mistakes we didn’t make.

‘The EMA helps young people all over the country and we cannot stand by and do nothing while they take it away.’

During the meeting protesters gathered outside Mr Willetts’ office, and afterwards the MP spoke to the crowd and answered their questions.

Unison secretary for the south east Phil Wood said the march, which was organised with Portsmouth Against Cuts Together (Pact), showed the anger at the government’s plans.

‘Many people are realising now how bad these cuts are,’ he said. ‘And they are getting worried.

‘We will see far more of these marches in the future.’