London march to save the arts and libraries

Hundreds of people will march from the British Library to Parliament Square tomorrow (Saturday) to call for an end to the cuts hitting the arts and libraries across the country.

Members of UNISON, along with those from PCS and UNITE, will march past cultural landmarks in the capital in support of libraries and museums.

The march will end with a rally in Parliament Square featuring speeches from library workers and authors. These include Frank Cottrell Boyce, writer of the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony, Goodbye Christopher Robin and The Unforgotten Coat.

Since 2010 over 500 libraries have been closed across England, Scotland and Wales.

With the chancellor this week claiming austerity is coming to an end, unions are demanding the government redress the years of spending cuts, which have decimated the budgets of libraries, museums, galleries, theatres, and other cultural centres.

These cuts have caused closures, job losses and restricted opening times. They have severely limited the access to the arts for the public and they cannot continue, says UNISON.

 UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “Libraries are vital to local communities. Without them, many people would be isolated and have no access to books, films, music or activities.

“Public services are running on empty and councils are still axing thousands of jobs in a desperate attempt to save core services like adult and children’s social care. While this goes on the arts will undoubtedly suffer.

“The government must act now to protect these vital services before they are ruined beyond repair.”

Notes to editors:
Assemble:  11am Saturday 3 November – British Library car park, Midland Road, London, NW1
March: Noon start at assembly point, finish at rally point. Route: Euston road > Woburn Place > Southampton Row > Aldwych > The Strand > Trafalgar Square > Whitehall > Parliament Square
Rally: 1:15pm –3pm. Parliament Square
Compere: Alan Wylie (UNISON, Islington)
Frank Cottrell Boyce
Maggi Ferncombe – UNISON Regional Secretary (London)
Clara Paillard – PCS Culture Sector President
Onay Kasab – Unite Regional Officer (London and Eastern)
Shazziah Rock – UNISON Library worker (UNISON Sandwell, West Midlands)
John Dougherty – award winning children’s author (There’s a Pig Up My Nose and the Stinkbomb & Ketchup-face series)
Martin Sundram – artist, Co Chair Artists Union England.

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