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Protesters from Southampton and Hampshire to join London protest against cuts
SCORES of trade unionists from across the south are heading to London today to tell the Government its ''brutal'' spending cuts are hitting jobs, services and living standards.
Ministers will come under attack as tens of thousands of workers, anti-war campaigners, politicians, community groups and other activists join a huge protest rally in the capital.
Labour leader Ed Miliband will be among dozens of speakers at a rally in Hyde Park, joining union officials who will spell out the impact of spending cuts on public services.
There have been growing calls for the TUC to organise a general strike following last year's day of industrial action by public sector workers over the Government's controversial pension reforms.
Today's events are aimed at calling on the coalition to end its public sector spending cuts and other unpopular policies.
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber will tell the rally that austerity wasn't working, accusing the Government of ''broken promises''.
He will say: ''Ministers told us that if we only accept the pain, recovery would come. Instead we have been mired in a double dip recession.
''They told us if we only accepted the cuts, our deficit would come down. Instead our borrowing is going through the roof.
''The biggest lie of them all was the cynical double talk that we are all in this together. The grim reality has been tax cuts for the richest with wage and benefit cuts for the poorest.
''Who can ever believe this shambolic, make-it-up-as-you-go-along Government? They have done so many spins and u-turns they would get 10 out of 10 from the judges of Strictly Come Dancing.''
Mr Miliband is expected to tell the rally that whoever was in government now would have to make some cuts.
''I do not promise easy times. But I do promise a different and fairer approach.
''This Government has shown us self-defeating austerity, by cutting too far and too fast, is not the answer.
''And let me tell you one cut I would never make: I would never cut taxes for millionaires while raising taxes for everybody else. You do it by building one nation.''
A Government spokesman said: ''We understand that these are challenging economic and financial times and that many people are finding things difficult. However, we cannot flinch from making the tough decisions needed to get public finances back on track. We are doing everything we can to get the economy growing again. But this can't be done without tackling the deficit.
''The Government took the decision to freeze public sector pay for two years, while protecting those earning under £21,000 by increasing their pay by at least £250 per year. This pay restraint has helped to protect jobs in the public sector and support high quality public services.
''In March we set out our final proposed agreements on pension reform following more than a year of intensive discussions with trades unions. These reforms will ensure that public sector pensions will remain among the very best available and that they can be sustained for future generations.
''It is disappointing that some unions insist on pushing for irresponsible and futile strike action which benefits no one. As we have said time and again, pension talks will not be reopened and nothing further will be achieved through strike action.''
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