Wales TUC anti-cuts rally attracts 1,500 in Cardiff

Around 1,500 people turned out for a trades union march against public spending cuts in Cardiff.

The protest coincides with the Welsh Liberal Democrat and Conservative party conferences in Cardiff city centre.

A small group of protesters blocked the road outside the Lib Dem conference hotel.

Welsh Conservatives leader Nick Bourne said the UK government had been forced to make "difficult decisions" to tackle the deficit.

The marchers were making its way across the city centre to rally near where the Conservatives are meeting.

First Minister Carwyn Jones called for a "Labour alternative" when he spoke at the Wales TUC rally.

"The cuts that are being proposed by the Tory-led Government are too fast and too deep," he said.

"They will not just impact on our public services, they also threaten to destabilise our whole economy."

Wales TUC president Sian Wiblin said: "There are better alternatives to tackling the deficit than cuts."

The march comes the day after it was confirmed 250 jobs were to go at Companies House, which has its headquarters in Cardiff.

Companies House said around 85 staff will leave within a year with the rest of the posts phased out.

The march started at 1100 GMT at Cathays Park in the city centre and was due to converge on Sophia Gardens for 1200.

"The march is about sending a clear message to politicians to say that we don't agree with the cuts," said Ms Wiblin.

"We believe there are alternative and fairer ways, particularly in Wales where public sector cuts will affect us more as we have a bigger number of workers in the public sector than other parts of the UK.

Tax avoidance

"After the Second World War the decision was made to invest and rebuild the country as opposed to drastic cuts.

Image caption A small number of protesters blocked the road outside the Lib Dem conference venue

"Similar long-term investment today, particularly in education and achieving and developing a person instead of putting them on a dole queue, will mean people can contribute to the country in future.

"Instead we have the government making public sector cuts and and saying the private sector will step in.

"When that doesn't happen we are left with potential workers on the dole costing the country money instead of contributing to the economy.

"If money was spent on tackling tax avoidance then there would be no need for cuts."

Assembly Conservative leader Nick Bourne said the UK government could not ignore the scale of the budget deficit.

"We had to tackle that, and that's meant some dreadful, important, difficult decisions that have been made by the government," Mr Bourne said.

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