Police called in to evict protesters

Wigan Town Hall

Wigan Town Hall

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SHAMEFUL scenes brought a meeting of Wigan’s Full Council to a halt as they discussed controversial budget cuts.

The meeting descended into chaos as members of the People Against Cuts (PAC) group brought their protest into the Council chamber.

The protests became so loud and disruptive the meeting was temporality adjourned and police were called to clear the public gallery.

The drama began as Council Leader Council Peter Smith began to address the meeting and was heckled by the protesters.

One woman shouted: “Who is going to tell my children that I have lost my job?” And another man said: “Shame on you, shame on you”, and “you are a Tory in disguise.”

The Mayor, Coun Mike Winstanley tried to restore order in the chamber and ordered those in the public gallery to sit down but he was met with louder and more aggressive behaviour.

Lord Smith expressed his disappointment that planned borough improvements such as Building Schools for the Future, the Saddle Relief Road and the Turnpike Gallery have either had to be abandoned or postponed.

He said: “There have been a number of things we have had to lose and sadly our government grant is down to 46 per cent.”

Tory Councillor Sean Ell suggested that the council cuts spending by losing the Borough Life magazine and the Link by Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust. He said: “We could save £50,000 from Link and £115,000 from Borough Life if we got rid of these publications. I would rather our money be spent on the education of young people in this borough and frontline services than magazines.”

A spokesman for PAC, said after the meeting: “We had no plan when we went into the public gallery, everybody just wanted to listen to what was being said.

“But we wanted to make them understand that the people of Wigan are against these cuts, we just felt like there were so many excuses being made for the cuts.”