Thousands of people are to march and rally in Manchester this weekend against cuts, job losses and the increasing involvement of private healthcare companies in the NHS, as delegates attending the first day of the Conservative Party annual conference begin to gather in the city.
The Save Our NHS event is being organised by the TUC’s North West office, and takes place this Sunday (29 September). People from across the region and beyond are being urged to join the three-mile march, which will begin forming up on Liverpool Road near the Museum of Science and Industry from 11am.
At approximately 12.15pm the front of the march will set off via Deansgate and John Dalton Street before passing Manchester Central, the Conservative Party conference venue, and heading for Whitworth Park, where the rally will take place from around 2.15pm.
North West MP and Opposition health spokesperson Andy Burnham MP will speak in the park, along with TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady, and a number of union leaders – including the FBU’s Matt Wrack, Dave Prentis from Unison, Len McCluskey from Unite, the NUT’s Christine Blower and Mark Serwotka from PCS.
Compered by Manchester musician and journalist John Robb, Save Our NHS is also being supported by Liverpool band the Farm, and 15 year old John Lennon McCullagh from Doncaster who is signed to Creation boss Alan McGee’s new label.
Also addressing the crowds in the park will be author and columnist Owen Jones, a group of healthcare workers, Dr Louise Irvine from the successful campaign to save Lewisham Hospital and Hannah Paterson from the NUS.
The TUC hopes that this weekend’s protest will highlight the impact of huge job losses and spending cuts across the health service, as well as the rapid sell-off of the most lucrative parts of the NHS to private healthcare companies – some of whom have donated huge sums of money to the Conservative Party.
The event will also raise concerns about the wider effect that government policies are having upon communities across the UK. Those gathered in the park will hear contributions from speakers who want the bedroom tax scrapped, a halt to the Royal Mail privatisation plans, the introduction of proper job guarantees for unemployed youngsters and an end to austerity and spending cuts. A number of films will also be shown in the park – including one filmed during the Austerity Uncoveredtour which saw a TUC bus visit towns and cities in England in June.
For the past few months the TUC has been working closely with Greater Manchester Police and Manchester City Council to ensure that Save Our NHS is a safe and family-friendly event.
Approximate timings for Sunday 29 September
11am Liverpool Road (M3 4FP) march begins to assemble
12.15pm Front of the march departs
1.15pm March begins to pass the Conservative Party conference venue, Manchester Central
1.45pm March passes the Manchester Royal Infirmary
2.15pm Rally at Whitworth Park with the Farm, John Robb, Frances O’Grady and Andy Burnham MP
4.15pm Event finishes
NOTES TO EDITORS:
– The TUC’s campaign plan can be downloaded from www.tuc.org.uk/campaignplan
– All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk
– Follow the TUC on Twitter: @tucnews