Protests: Tuesday

Ramona McCartney

Westminster is a popular choice for protesters wanting to make their point heard. On a chilly Tuesday, there weren’t many on show – except for a very visible stunt outside Downing Street.

Who are they?

Ramona McCartney works for the People’s Assembly, an anti-austerity campaign group, which piled up £10,000 worth of food on the pavement opposite Downing Street.

The 40-year-old from London arrived on the scene first thing in the morning ahead of the group’s photocall at midday.

What are they protesting about

The group chose the day before the Budget to “demand an alternative to austerity” and highlight the scale of foodbank use in Britain, Ramona says.

It is also calling for an end to the rollout of the government’s universal credit scheme.

After the protest, the food will be delivered to a foodbank distribution centre in Coventry.

How is the protest going down?

“We have had a fantastic reception – lots of people have been taking photographs. For an hour (during the photocall at midday) the whole place was full of press.”

What is the government’s position?

Speaking in the aftermath of the general election, Chancellor Philip Hammond said the government was “not deaf” to calls to relax austerity, acknowledging that “people are weary of the long slog”.

He said the government “heard a message” in the election that people were “weary” of spending cuts.

But the government maintains that the UK must “live within its means” and has attacked Labour’s plans for more borrowing.

Ministers have rejected Labour’s calls to pause the rollout of universal credit, saying they are listening to concerns raised about the way it is working. The new system is getting more people into work and will be simpler to use, they say.


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