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After their court action this week, Barnet residents march for public services

Barnet residents will demonstrate today (Saturday 23 March) in defence of public services and against cuts and the One Barnet outsourcing programme.

The ‘Barnet Spring’ march, organised by Barnet Alliance for Public Services (BAPS), will assemble between 11am and noon at Finchley Central tube station to hear speakers, then proceed to Friern Barnet Community Library for a final rally from 1.30pm to 3pm and celebration of Friern Barnet Library’s 79th birthday.

There will be a bus available for those who prefer not to walk.

BAPS coordinator Tirza Waisel said:

“BAPS was at the High Court this week supporting Barnet resident Maria Nash’s application for Judicial Review of the One Barnet outsourcing programme.

“We heard the Council say they did not need to consult residents about whether the bulk of our services are run by a private company or in-house as at present. They said our input on such questions was not useful. It is attitudes such as this that we want to challenge with our march.

“Residents are right to be worried about what will happen if One Barnet fails to deliver the expected savings and means further cuts in services. This is already happening with Your Choice Barnet, set up under the auspices of One Barnet to make a surplus. Now it is making a loss, the management want to cut service levels and are asking Barnet Council for a bailout.

“Part of the evidence in court was how Barnet Council banned us from discussing policy matters at our own residents’ forums. Barnet residents have a right to be consulted about the services we rely on and pay for. We need more democracy in Barnet; we call for a Barnet Spring!”

The One Barnet programme includes a contract with Barnet Council for a New Support and Customer Services Organisation (NSCSO), worth at least £320 million over 10 years. Capita won the bid. A second contract covering Development and Regulatory Services (DRS) worth £275 million over 10 years is also being bid for, by Capita Symonds and EC Harris.

Today's rally speakers include:

Tony Benn
John McDonnell MP
Owen Jones - journalist
Christina McAnea - UNISON Assistant General Secretary NHS
Shirley Franklin – Defend the Whittington Hospital Coalition
Dan Morton – Social Work Action Network
Ellen Clifford – Disabled People Against the Cuts (DPAC)
Fiona Evans – Save Newcastle Libraries campaign
Andrew Dismore AM - Barnet and Camden, Greater London Assembly
Jenny Jones AM – Green Party, Greater London Assembly
John Sullivan – resident, campaign to bring ‘Your Choice Barnet’ back in-house
Shreya Paudel – President, Middlesex University Students Union
Stan Davison -  Barnet 55+ Forum
Tom Youlden – Save Barnet NHS
Peter Phoenix – Occupy
Paul Kershaw – Chair, Unite Housing workers
John McLoughlin - UNISON SGE
Paul Nicholson – 1,000 Mothers March
Nick Grant, NUT, NEC
Sarah Sackman - barrister for Friern Barnet Community Library
Alistair Smith – Anti-Academies Alliance and NUT
Mary Turner – GMB
Max Watson – UNISON NEC
Dr Tony O’Sullivan – Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign
Maureen Ivens – Save Friern Barnet Library Group
Ed Bobber – Norfolk Coalition Against the Cuts
Alon Or-Bach – Finchley & Golders Green Labour Party
Pilgrim Tucker – Unite community London & Eastern coordinator
Jeremy Corbyn MP
Barbara Jacobson – Barnet Alliance for Public Services
Linda Perks – Unison Greater London Regional Secretary
Andy Reid – PCS NEC
Phil Fletcher – Pinkham Way Alliance
Maria Nash – Disabilities Rights Campaigner and Barnet resident

Contingents joining the march

Barnet TUC
Brent Fightback
Barnet 55+ Forum
Camden UNISON
Coalition of Resistance
Hackney UNISON
Haringey UNISON
Kensington & Chelsea UNISON
Lambeth UNISON
London Metropolitan University UNISON
Middlesex University Students Union
Middlesex University UNISON
Southwark UNISON
1,000 Mothers in Haringey
Tower Hamlets UNISON
Defend the Whittington Hospital Coalition
Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign
Unite Housing workers
Disabled People Against the Cuts (DPAC)
Camden United for Benefits Justice
WinVisible
Campaign to Bring Your Choice Barnet Back In-house
GMB
Save Barnet NHS
Anti Academies Alliance
Save Friern Barnet Library Campaign
PCS
Unite Communities
Social Work Action Network (SWAN)
Save Newcastle Libraries Campaign
NUT
Norfolk Coalition Against the Cuts
OccupyLondon

Barnet Alliance for Public Services (BAPS) is a coalition of residents, trade unionists and community campaigners in LB Barnet, formed to defend and improve public services.

@barnetalliance #BarnetSpring

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