Article published: Sunday, February 3rd 2013
Families marched in their hundreds on Saturday against the closure of Withington’s swimming pool. Up to 400 demonstrated, as speakers from the trade union Unite and the Save Levenshulme Baths campaign warned the crowd of major cuts across the entire city.
Leisure centres in Withington, Levenshulme, Miles Platting and Broadway in New Moston are scheduled to close in a bid by Manchester City Council to save £2.8m in running costs and repairs. New pools are planned for Levenshulme and Hough End in 2015, and Beswick in 2014.
The council plans to slash services by £80m over the next two years due to massive cuts in government funding.
Manchester Unite branch secretary Jimmy Thornton warned how 400 jobs were going from vital children’s and adults’ services.
And activist Charlotte Smith of the Save Levenshulme Baths and Library campaign told the march of how the neighbouring area’s pool had won a temporary reprieve from attempts to close it in 2011.
Smith added that any fight to save services should not just focus on one area of the city. “We won it but there was still a massive cut to other services in the city”, she said. “We do not want a new pool in Levenshulme and cuts to other pools.”
Smith also pointed out that Manchester’s local services were under heavy pressure and losing hundreds of staff. “I think we have to build a campaign across the whole city that embraces all of these things”, she said.
“The city council quite often ask us to be proud of Manchester, I’ve heard that a lot. Love Manchester, be proud of Manchester.
“The thing that would make me most proud of Manchester is if the city unites together and puts pressure on the council to make no cuts at all and fight back against the £80m cuts.”
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