Richard Burgon MP speaking at the Britain is Broken launch. Photo: Jim Aindow Richard Burgon MP speaking at the Britain is Broken launch. Photo: Jim Aindow

Austerity has failed but it continues to wreak havoc for millions of people. Shabbir Lakha reports from the launch of a new campaign to end austerity

The People’s Assembly Against Austerity launched their new campaign, Britain is Broken: We Can’t Afford the Tories, with a rally in London on Wednesday evening.

It’s increasingly clear that despite Theresa May and Philip Hammond’s recent proclamation austerity is far from over. The findings of UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston that found extreme levels of child and other poverty, which he said was inherently misogynistic because of its disproportionate effect on women as well as a political choice that has caused unnecessary misery.

This is what makes the Britain is Broken campaign so important and so urgent. This is the message that came across at the launch rally. The campaign will be touring nationally putting on public meetings and rallies to bring together the anti-austerity movement with a clear and decisive focus. Sign up to the mailing list to stay up to date with the campaign.

Allison Phillips, the Editor-in-Chief of The Mirror, spoke at the rally about why her publication has teamed up with the People’s Assembly to expose the harsh realities of the devastation being caused by austerity.

Allison Phillips. Photo: Jim Aindow

Potent Whisper performed his compelling spoken word piece which rips apart the Tories’ policies.

Potent Whisper. Photo: Jim Aindow

Amelia Womack, the Deputy Leader of the Green Party and Co-Chair of the People’s Assembly, spoke about the detrimental effects of air pollution and fracking, and the cuts the Tories have made which exacerbate the looming climate crisis.

Amelia Womack. Photo: Jim Aindow

Chris Heppell and Lauren Townsend spoke about the strike action they’ve recently been involved in organising in the fast food industry because of the poverty pay and infringement of their workers rights that they face.

Chris Heppell and Lauren Townsend. Photo: Jim Aindow

Faiza Shaheen, Director of CLASS think tank and Labour Party Parliamentary candidate, spoke about the erosion of communities as a result of neoliberalism and the racism inherent in austerity.

Faiza Shaheen. Photo: Jim Aindow

Lindsey German gave a stark overview of what this government has achieved in terms of massively increasing poverty and inequality, how foodbanks have now become institutionalised and why it is imperative that we fight for a general election now.

Photo: Jim Aindow

Aislinn Macklin-Doherty, a Doctor and organiser with Health Campaigns Together, spoke about the dire situation in the chronically underfunded NHS and the reality of the privatisation taking place in the NHS. Ailsinn also led the tribute for Harry Leslie Smith, a tireless campaigner for the NHS and against austerity and war.

Aislinn Macklin-Doherty. Photo: Jim Aindow

Alex Kenny of the National Education Union, spoke about the state of our schools in crisis because of the huge cuts they’ve faced, how many schools have to rely on charitable contributions from parents to survive and why they’re currently in the process of an indicative ballot for strike action which has received unprecedented support so far.

Richard Burgon MP gave a fiery speech, relaying harrowing stories of some of his constituents that have been left destitute by Universal Credit and austerity and stressed the need for the extra-parliamentary movement to mobilise to fight austerity and bring down this Tory Government.

Richard Burgon MP. Photo: Jim Aindow

Shabbir Lakha

Shabbir Lakha is a Stop the War officer, a People's Assembly activist and a member of Counterfire.