Hundreds march to save Withy Baths

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Several hundred South Manchester residents turned out to protest against the closure of Withington Baths today in a huge local effort to save the service.

The leisure centre – along with numerous other local services is under threat as Manchester’s Labour run City Council tries to cut £80 million from its spending over the next two years.

Families with young children made up the bulk of the protest, which also saw pensioners, trade unionists, anti-cuts activists and even some local celebrities take to the streets.

Members of the newly formed Greater Manchester Unite Community Branch attended with their banner and joining forms, receiving a positive response.

The crowd, roughly 400-500 strong, chanted anti-cuts slogans on route from the baths to a rally at Withington Library where speakers included activists from the “Save Levy Baths” campaign – a similarly strong community-based effort to save a swimming pool and also a local library from closure in nearby Levenshulme.

Speakers made clear that the campaign goals were in no way to prioritise Withington over other areas – but that councillors needed to take a stand and protect all local services. Several speakers called for the council to break their budget if necessary to protect facilities that local people rely on.

The demonstration comes a week after a very large anti-cuts demonstration in Levenhulme to protect services, as well as a protest by 20,000 people to save Lewisham hospital in South East London.

Photographs of the demonstration can be found here.

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