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Welfare cuts of £12bn announced as thousands attend anti-austerity protests

Tens of thousands of protesters have gathered across the UK on Saturday, raising their concerns over the government’s austerity measures. On Sunday, Chancellor George Osborne and Work & Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan published an announcement in the Sunday Times that an additional £12bn would be cut from welfare spending in the next budget.

The measure is aimed at addressing the “damaging culture of welfare dependency”, according to the Sunday Times.

The Conservative Party has pledged to reduce the welfare budget in the recent UK elections. The primary focus lies on reducing the benefit cap and cuts to other working-age benefits, according to their election manifesto.

The announcement of the planned austerity measures follows Saturday’s protests with the largest anti-austerity crowds Britain has seen in years. In London 250,000 people marched to Parliament Square expressing their opposition to the cuts, according to organisers. The number has not been verified by the police.

Comedian Russell Brand and singer Charlotte Church addressed the crowd of protesters, calling the cuts “unethical” and their necessity “a big lie”.

The measures have also been met with concern by opposition parties. Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn and Green Party MP Caroline Lucas voiced their opposition to the Conservative Party’s austerity plan at Saturday’s protest.

Glasgow saw the second largest protest with several thousand participants.

 

Elisabeth Brahier

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