Thousands are expected to turn out in Albert Square on Saturday 25 February

THOUSANDS of people are expected to join Manchester's first Torch Light March against the government's continued cuts to social care and schools this Saturday (25 February) in Manchester City Centre.

Marchers – including teachers, parents and social carers - will hold aloft torches as they leave Liverpool Road at 5.30pm and make their way down Deansgate to Albert Square for a larger rally at 6pm.

Manchester City Council is facing up to a budget deficit of £30m over the next three years, with up to £12m expected to be cut from the adult social care budget.

Objectors say it is those most needing support, from the elderly to the disabled and homeless, who will bear the brunt of the Tory government’s ‘heartless’ cuts.

One of the march organisers, Cllr Pat Karney, said: "The scandalous cuts will damage the lives of our older residents and young people. A recent health report indicated that 30,000 vulnerable people have died because of the cuts. We have a moral duty to protect our older and younger citizens."

A Manchester petition – demanding full funding for social care and no cuts to school budgets - will be launched at the march and taken to Downing Street on 7 March, the day before the national budget is published.

Manchester City Council has, however, come under fire in recent months following plans to raise pay for its top executives despite the cuts – read about it here.

0170304 Protest 2
March organiser Cllr Pat Karney