Twenty thousand join march against cuts in Edinburgh
Twenty thousand people - teachers and lecturers from across Scotland, fellow public sector workers and supporters of public services - have staged a major anti-cuts demonstration in Edinburgh today (Saturday 23 October).
The March and Rally, organised in affiliation with the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC), has sent a clear message to government that the deep cuts - just announced in the Westminster government’s Comprehensive Spending Review - will cause massive damage to public services across Scotland and put economic recovery and the future of the country at risk.
Commenting today, EIS General Secretary Ronnie Smith said, "Today’s rally, which has brought together public sector workers and supporters from throughout Scotland and across the political spectrum, will send a clear message to the politicians that we will simply not accept a continuing attack on our vital public services.”
He added, "The EIS supports the STUC’s There is a Better Way campaign which aims to protect all the public services that the people of Scotland deserve. The EIS’s own Why Must our Children Pay? campaign is focused on protecting the public provision of education in our schools, colleges and universities.”
Mr Smith continued, "It was not the pupils in our schools who caused the damaging economic crisis in which the country finds itself. Nor was it the students in our colleges and universities who created a financial meltdown which devastated the national finances and heaped so much cost upon the taxpayer.”
"The real culprits are not public sector workers, nor the users of public services, but the financial institutions whose greed drove the country to the brink of bankruptcy and the governments who allowed them almost carte blanche in the endless pursuit of ever greater profit, accompanied by increasingly excessive pay and perks for the chosen few,” said Mr Smith
Mr Smith went on to say, "The question we must continue to ask is "Why must our Children pay” for the mistakes of others? Why must our children pay for the greed of financial speculators who drove the country into a deep pit of debt? Why must our children pay for the impotent financial regulations that allowed the pursuit of private profit to run up huge debts that the taxpayer is now expected to settle?”
"Public services such as education are an investment, not a cost. The funding that we put into educating our young people now will be returned many times over in the future. In an increasingly competitive global economy, it is essential that we have a highly educated, highly skilled workforce who can adapt to the evolving challenges that we will face in the years ahead.”
"The government must continue to invest in our public services and in our education system. The recovery begins with teachers who are vital to economic and social rebuilding,” said Mr Smith
Mr Smith went on to thank thousands of people who turned out on the March, saying, "By turning out in support of our campaign today, you have played an important part in protecting our public services. While this is just the latest step in an ongoing campaign, it is an important step that will send a message that the politicians cannot ignore. Thank you for your support, which remains vital to the success of our campaign.”
• The STUC Demonstration under the banner There is a Better way against Public Sector Cuts is taking place today - Saturday 23 October - in Edinburgh.
• The EIS is campaigning against cuts to Education under the slogan Why Must our Children Pay? See www.eis.org.uk for more information on this campaign.
For additional information, please contact:
Brian Cooper (Media & Communications), Tel 0131 225 6244, Mob 07974 715101
MARCH AND RALLY DETAILS
• 11.00 am: Assemble East Market Street Edinburgh
• 11.30 am: March off
• 12.30 pm: Rally Ross Bandstand