Hundreds take to city centre in Leeds anti-austerity protest

Leeds Town Hall.
Leeds Town Hall.
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Hundreds of protestors have descended on Leeds city centre to state their opposition to Government cuts today.

An anti-austerity demonstration, organised by Leeds Youth Fight for Jobs (YFJ), has seen campaigners with placards denouncing the bedroom tax, zero hour contracts and NHS reform take to Victoria Gardens outside Leeds Art Gallery from around 5pm.

It is part of a national day of action that has seen young people voice their concerns at the state opening of Parliament in towns and cities including London, Belfast, Manchester, Bradford and York.

Tanis Belsham-Wray, Leeds YFJ convenor, said: “They [Government] are proposing to scrap housing benefit for under 21s and force young people into a 30-hour-a-week scheme for their dole.

“If there is work to be done, then it should be with real jobs paid with a living wage – not more workfare schemes that only benefit big business profits.”

Leeds YFJ claims that the protest aims to channel the anger that many people have towards legislative announcements made so far.

Iain Dalton, Yorkshire YFJ organiser, added: “It’s clear there is money to invest in jobs, homes and public services. Youth Fight for Jobs wants to see a Britain run in the interests of ordinary people, not the millionaires.”

YFJ was launched by young workers, students and unemployed youth in 2009, and is supported by a number of national trade unions.