Education & Family

Students and TUC set to join in city protests

Protests are due to be held in London and Manchester against rising student tuition fees and public spending cuts.

The National Union of Students and TUC are joining forces for a march and rally in Manchester.

In London, there is likely to be a heavy police presence as protesters march through Trafalgar Square and Whitehall before gathering at Millbank.

Officers will hand out leaflets telling demonstrators what actions will be taken if violence breaks out.

Last month, MPs voted to raise tuition fees in England to up to £9,000 a year.

Ministers say increasing tuition fees is essential to secure the future of the universities.

In Manchester Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union, will accuse ministers of prioritising billions of pounds in tax breaks for business as they triple the cost of university and axe funding for college students and help for the unemployed.

"From sacking lollipop ladies and closing youth clubs to axing college grants and trebling tuition fees, this is a government at war with our young people and therefore at war with our future," she will say.

"It is betraying an entire generation."

TUC assistant general secretary Kay Carberry will tell the rally that young people should not pay the price for the government's "reckless gamble" with the economy.

Ms Carberry will say: "In the City, bankers are popping champagne corks and celebrating their bonuses.

"It's business as usual for them, while young people up and down Britain are being forced to pick up the tab for a financial crisis and recession that they didn't cause."

'Degree of anger'

Saturday's rallies will be the latest in a series of demonstrations by students.

On the day MPs voted to raise fees, there were angry scenes on the streets of London as thousands of students marched through the capital.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber says he is not expecting a repeat on Saturday.

"I am very confident this'll be an entirely peaceful demonstration," he said.

"But I don't think that means we can't get across very powerfully the degree of anger there is about these terribly damaging changes the government are trying to force through."

Employment Minister Chris Grayling said the trade unions needed to understand that the youth unemployment challenge facing this government was a "direct consequence of the failings of Labour".

"We have inherited a legacy of 600,000 young people who have never worked since leaving school or college," he said.

"We think young people deserve better - that's why we're investing in apprenticeships to create long-term jobs and are developing work experience opportunities so that young people get the skills and experience they need to successfully compete in the labour market."

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