Rally held to back cuts to reduce UK deficit

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Media captionDirector of the TaxPayers' Alliance Matthew Sinclair and UKIP MEP Nigel Farage were among the speakers

A rally in favour of government cuts has taken place in central London, arguing UK debt has to be reduced.

The Rally Against Debt was organised in response to protests in March, backed by the Trades Union Congress, which saw thousands demonstrate against cuts.

Around 350 people attended the event in Westminster, according to the Metropolitan Police.

The TUC said the fact "only a few hundred" turned up showed how "little support" the government's plans had.

Organisers also started a petition to stop EU bail-outs.

The idea for the rally came from a discussion on social networking site Twitter, and was partly organised by the TaxPayer's Alliance.

Speakers at the event in Old Palace Yard included political blogger Paul Staines who writes under the name Guido Fawkes, the director general of the Institute of Economic Affairs, Mark Littlewood, director of the TaxPayers' Alliance, Matthew Sinclair, and Nigel Farage MEP.

The rally aimed to support the idea that the national debt was a serious issue and it would be immoral to leave it to future generations.

It believed in substantial spending cuts sooner rather than later to avoid seeing more taxes going on debt interest, not paying for services.

Image caption The idea for the event came from a discussion on social networking site Twitter.

Protesters held placards bearing messages including "Drowning in debt", "No more EU bailouts" and "Stop spending money you don't have".

BBC News correspondent John Andrew, at the scene, said many at the rally believed current cuts do not go far enough.

"It's not often you hear the cry 'we want more cuts, we want more cuts'," he said.

He said organisers claimed the rally was represented by people from all backgrounds. "They believe they are speaking for the silent majority who believe the cuts are needed."

Matthew Sinclair, from the TaxPayer's Alliance, says the cuts are essential: "The country's facing a choice. It's facing a choice between racking up more and more debt and spending decades with taxpayers' burden and with the economy dragged down by that incredible debt.

"Or we start to take action to cut spending, to deliver better value and to start to rebuild our economic fortunes."

UKIP MEP Nigel Farage said: "We want to make it clear that not a penny more of British taxpayers' money should be spent on Euro bail-outs...and we regard giving £40m a day to Brussels for our membership of this union is giving us bad value for money.

"So from that little lot you get a fairly big shopping list of real, good, sensible cuts that could be made and we could perhaps keep a few more local libraries open."

James Dighton, a 24-year-old accountant from Leeds, said: "It's very important to get the message out there that not everyone in the country thinks the cuts are unnecessary - quite the opposite, in fact."

A spokesman for the Trades Union Congress said: "Half a million people joined the TUC march for the alternative to deep, early spending cuts.

"The fact that only a few hundred people rallied for more Sure Start centre closures and punitive cuts on disabled people, shows how little support there is for the government's economic plans."

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