PROTESTERS gathered outside the budget meeting to show their anger at the cuts.
Members of Sunderland Against the Cuts lobbied councillors against the planned reductions and called on the Government to tax the rich instead of “punishing” the most vulnerable.
Gary Duncan, a GMB union member and chairman of the action group, said: “We are totally opposed to the cuts. If there are going to be cuts, they should cut the wars, hit the bankers and tax the rich.”
He added: “The global economic crisis and the failure of bankers and the people being punished for it are vulnerable people, people on benefits, students – they’re all being hit.
“If the Government taxes the rich, if it collects the £120billion unpaid tax that goes missing every year, and stops the two expensive wars we’re fighting – but we’re in a society that protects the rich.”
Mr Duncan, a taxi driver and left-wing activist, also complained that Sunderland City Council had scheduled its budget meeting at 2pm, instead of 6pm, when more people could have come to listen to the debate.
He admitted, however, that it was the Tory-led Government, not the councillors and officers, who were to blame for the cuts.
Sunderland Against the Cuts is planning a demonstration on Saturday in Sunderland City Centre from noon to 2pm.