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Social workers out in force in mass demonstration demanding an end to austerity

Yesterday, BASW members took to the streets in a national demonstration to call for an end to austerity.

The BASW/SWU Austerity Action Group – formed following the Boot Out Austerity march – organised a social work presence in Manchester at the march, called to coincide with the Conservative Party Conference.

“It great to see BASW and Social Workers Union (SWU) members and staff from across the UK representing social workers in solidarity with the lively People's Assembly rally and march against austerity,” says Jon Dudley, social worker and chair of BASW’s Finance and Human Resources Committee.

“Whilst some of us were marching outside the Conservative Party Conference, BASW was also engaging delegates in important debate at a fringe meeting inside the conference centre.”

Dudley adds: “As the professional body for social work, we must take all opportunities to champion the cause of social justice and the contribution that social workers can make.”

BASW had support from social work students at Manchester Metropolitan University and the chance to hear again from people who rallied around our Boot Out Austerity march in April, including Disabled People Against Cuts and the Liverpool Socialist Choir.

Guy Shennan, BASW Chair, said: “At the head of our manifesto for social work is the call to end austerity policies that cause harm to children, adults and families with care and support needs.

“We heard from disabled people at the rally about the harm being done, and we were proud to march again as social workers and service users together against these unnecessary measures.

“We say to the Government and to those MPs who are propping it up - you have no mandate to continue with austerity and you can and must end it now.”

“We will continue to speak out against these policies, and our voice is getting stronger. We were ‘One BASW’ yesterday, with members and staff there from all the countries of the UK, and a strong presence from the local Greater Manchester branch.

“Social workers are united in this campaign, and we were pleased to march with our friends and allies in the Social Work Action Network, with academics and students on social work courses, and with colleagues from many other professions and occupations. The call is simple, end austerity now!”