AROUND 50 youths attended a Basingstoke event that put the spotlight on austerity.

The event, organised by Basingstoke Youth Movement, attracted a range of guest speakers who ignited a debate about austerity in Basingstoke.

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Councillor Paul Harvey, who represents the Norden area, spoke about how he believes the Government’s programme of austerity has hit the most vulnerable people.

The Labour councillor referred to disability benefits and bedroom tax and how these cuts have resulted in people facing eviction.

He added: “The Coalition has sought to divide our communities, demonising people as unworthy, and the result is that inequality is growing in our town.”

Daniel O’Loughlin, chair of the Basingstoke Youth Movement, said: “Our own Zoni Asif, Member of the Youth Parliament for Basingstoke, gave a very impressive and passionate speech on the day about young people in the town. It’s hard to believe she is only 16. She has done lots of work with our group.”

Other speakers at the event, held at the Ex-Services Club, in New Road, included Phil Hedges, Southampton branch officer for Unison, and James Meadway, a senior economist at the New Economics Foundation.

For more information about the youth movement visit basingstokeyouthmovement.event