Posts Tagged ‘hardest hit march’

Time for Labour to stand up for the hardest hit

11/05/2011, 11:30:38 AM

by Julianne Marriott

10,000 people are marching past Parliament now. If you were here, though, it would not be the march’s size that would catch your attention. Nor the distance; it will only really be a few hundred metres. Yet for many of those marching today, that short journey is more like a marathon.

And this march looks different too. It is slow. It includes lots of wheelchair users, people walking with sticks and others with guide dogs. Many are living with constant pain, on gruelling medication regimes, distressed by being in a crowd.

Scores of the walkers have fluctuating conditions, including cancer, dementia, arthritis and MS. Which means that many marchers can only be here because they are “having a good day”. Lots of people have a carer with them and wouldn’t have been able to come alone. They may have had to pay their carer, or they may be a family member, who’s had to take a day off work.

These 10,000 people are the hardest hit. Their incomes, independence and integrity are being systematically undermined. And today, a year to the day since that seven page initial agreement was signed, they have made a difficult and exhausting journey to Westminster to tell their story.

After the march, over a thousand people will queue for two hours to make their way into Westminster Hall. They hope that their MP will give them 15 minutes. And in that quarter of an hour they need to paint a picture of their lives now, and what effect of the welfare bill will have on them.


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