Social care workers took to London’s streets on Saturday to stand up for service users in the face of massive cuts to care budgets.
An estimated 500,000 protesters joined the TUC’s demonstration, March for the Alternative, against government spending cuts.
Among them was Matt Proom, a mental health social worker from South Gloucestershire. He was concerned about a decision to close a Rethink service that provided breaks for people with mental health problems.
“That service was minimal compared with the contributions those carers make,” he said. “The service user and the carer suffer as a result – the cut creates a bigger problem.”
Jackie Giles, children and families social worker at Oxfordshire Council, was also campaigning on behalf of service users.
“The client groups we’re working with are the most vulnerable in society,” she said. “The cuts are going to impact on the services we provide for them.
“There’s real anger among people in the social care sector about the spending cuts and we hope that by being here today we will force the government to listen.”
Calls to strike were led by Mark Serwotka, general secretary of PCS. “We must use the march as a springboard to united action,” he told the rally in Hyde Park. “We will continue to meet together and march together, but we must also be prepared to strike together to defend jobs, pensions and pay.”
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