Rochdale and Littleborough Peace Group were in Yorkshire Street again on Saturday (26 February 2010) calling for an end to the cuts which they say will seriously damage hospital and other public services in Rochdale. They invited people to sign the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament’s petition calling for the Government to immediately scrap the Trident nuclear weapons system and plans to upgrade it. They distributed leaflets condemning what they say is the Government’s £81billion assault on the welfare state.
Signing the petition, Ziyda Parveen said that the Government’s cuts have thrown her plans to become a nurse into serious doubt. She does not know how she will be able to go to university, if fees are doubled or even trebled, but she was very clear that the country needs nurses much more than it needs nuclear weapons.
On behalf of the Peace Group, Philip Gilligan said,
“During the past week, people throughout the borough have learned the terrifying timetable for cuts and closures at Rochdale Infirmary. Acute inpatient medical services will be lost at the end of March; acute inpatient gynaecology, general surgery and critical care will close at the end of May and, by the end of June, maternity inpatient services, the delivery unit, children’s inpatient services and cardiology will all be lost. In the same week, we have seen our Council forced by Government cuts to slash £64million from planned spending on essential services for the year ahead and learned that in the next few days they will begin planning another £80million worth of further cuts. Amongst the many other immediate reductions in services, the Council is expected to cut 750 jobs and will be making massive reductions in Adult Care and in services at Children’s Centres. Yet, at the same time, the Government with support from the Labour Party’s national leadership continues to squander £2.2 billion every year on the Trident nuclear weapons system and refuses to abandon plans to develop even deadlier nuclear weapons of mass destruction which it is estimated will cost another £97billion.
In thinking about these figures, we need to remember the very real impact that even the smallest cuts will have on individuals and the fact that a ‘billion’ is a thousand times more than a ‘million’. The amount the Government will waste on upgrading the Trident nuclear weapons system is likely to be 1,500 times greater than the amount it would cost to maintain Rochdale’s services without this year’s cuts.”
“There is an alternative to the cuts agenda. Today and everyday in Rochdale, we are saying that we want our taxes spent on decent public services, not on nuclear weapons. We shall be saying the same in London on Saturday 26 March and will continue to do so, until Cameron, Clegg and Miliband show us they have listened”, he added.