March against county council cuts in Gloucester

Image caption, Hundreds took part in march through Gloucester city centre to protest against county council cuts

Hundreds of protesters have taken part in a march through the centre of Gloucester against planned cuts by the county council.

On Thursday the Conservative-controlled council voted to support cuts to services to bridge a £108m funding gap.

Up to 1,000 jobs will also be lost over the next four years as the council tries to find ways to meet the budget deficit.

The march began at 1030 GMT, with a rally organised by unions afterwards.

Steve Lydon, from the TUC, said: "This isn't just about jobs and it's not just about the public sector.

"For many of our small local companies that rely on the NHS, the county, local authorities, local districts for their orders and goods - it's important that we realise the knock-on effect."

Gloucester's Conservative MP Richard Graham said: "Anybody who's marching because they're worried about losing their job, I think that's absolutely understandable.

"But I think the idea of marching on a policy of no cuts is head in the sand."

Ann Riley, 51, a library worker, who took part in the march, said: "There's grave concerns about the proposals which we don't feel have been particularly thought through there seems to be a lot of flaws in the proposals which we will be challenging."

Sue Wright, who had travelled from the Forest of Dean to take part, said: "I'm here personally because we're extremely angry about the proposed cuts to sell off the forest.

"Not only the Forest of Dean but Sherwood Forest and the New Forest. They're national treasures and I almost cry myself to sleep at night thinking that these could be gone, once sold off they'll never be reclaimed."

County council leader Mark Hawthorne said: "People have a right to express their view, but the government has committed to tackle Labour's debt and the cheque we receive next year will be smaller as a result.

"We need to work together to protect those services that make a real difference. I want to work with our staff to make that a reality."

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