The Green Party were out in force at Saturday’s march against austerity in Manchester city centre and wasted no time blowing the whistle on their rival Labour Party’s alleged scheme to combat the homeless protest that has been taking place outside Central Library in recent weeks.
According to the Green Party, Manchester’s Labour Council has spent £88,000 on police, private security, bailiffs and court costs to prevent homeless people from sleeping outside council buildings – enough to pay for a year’s rent for each protester.
Around thirty people have been camped outside council buildings for the past month in order to raise attention to the problem of homelessness in the city. Manchester council cut £50million from local services in its last budget, including services for the young, homeless and victims of gender violence. Official figures show that homelessness has risen by 79% in Manchester in the last year.
Over the course of the last month, Manchester Council have called bailiffs on the camp, taken the protestors to court, and banned them from entering the Central Library to use the toilets. The camp moved from Albert Square to St. Peter’s Square after a court order. On Tuesday, the Greater Manchester Police evicted the protesters again, and they have now moved to St. Anne’s Square.
Laura Bannister of Manchester Green Party said, “It’s great to see homeless people working together to stand up for their rights. This protest makes it very difficult for them to be ignored any longer – I hope the council and the government are taking notice.”
The Green Party are calling for an end to budget cuts for homelessness services in Manchester, as well as an end to the benefit sanctions and bedroom tax – which have left many without a home.
Manchester Green Party joined thousands of others in protesting against austerity cuts in Piccadilly Gardens at lunchtime on Saturday which included a solidarity protest with the homeless camp at 2pm.