Middlesbrough protest held over spending cuts

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Hundreds of people have gathered in Middlesbrough to protest against cuts in public spending.

The rally in Centre Square was set up to highlight how hard people in the town will be hit by the cuts.

Research commissioned by the BBC in September 2010 suggested Middlesbrough was likely to suffer more than any other area of England.

About one in three people in the town works in the public sector.

But the government said the cuts were necessary to address Britain's large budget deficit.

Regional secretary of the Northern TUC, Kevin Rowan, was among the protesters.

Furnace mothballed

He said: "Middlesbrough's been severely hit by the government's spending cuts.

"We expect to see thousands of job losses within Middlesbrough and thousands more in the surrounding area and Middlesbrough's not the kind of area where it can afford to take those cuts."

Also at the demonstration was steelworker Eugene Purvis, who watched 1,600 of his workmates lose their livelihoods when the Redcar Corus blast furnace was mothballed in February 2010.

He said: "I think it's wrong, what this government's doing with regards to the cuts they're taking off this area... It's a lot of money for a depressed, deprived area."

The government says the cuts to spending are necessary to reduce the budget deficit and allow the government to start paying back its debts.

But union leaders have criticised the strategy, claiming it is too much too fast and will disproportionately affect the country's most vulnerable people.

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