Anti-cuts demo sets out from Prince's village, with the backing of a Bishop
Hundreds of anti-cuts protesters marched to the beat of drums through Prince Charles utopian "dream" village in Dorset at the weekend.
Buoyed by the good wishes of a bishop, the crowds demonstrated against council cuts they fear will hit the Wescountry's most vulnerable.
The march and rally in Dorchester on Saturday made history as the first to be begin within Charles' Poundbury village, the urban extension on Duchy of Cornwall land on the edge of the town.
Police kept a watching brief but the proceedings were orderly as the Trades Council-organised march wound its way through the showcase estate and the old streets of the town to a rally at County Hall.
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In a message to the organisers the Bishop of Sherborne, the Right Reverend Graham Kings said he was "seriously concerned about the government cuts and am glad to hear about your demonstration".
Dorset-based Pamela Jefferies of union UNISON said: "The £11 million cuts in the year ahead are going to decimate public services but this is only a taste of what is to follow.
"The council will have two more years of cutting in excess of £13 million a year.
"I have never met a single service user who caused the global financial crisis.
"I have however met lots of people who are going to find themselves without the support they rely on, to have a decent standard of living or a living at all."
Protesters were urging Dorset County Council not to rubber-stamp Cabinet recommendations for £11.5 million cuts when it meets on Thursday.
The proposal is just the first year of a three-year plan which will see more than £40 million shaved off the budget.
The cuts include £5.8 million from services to the elderly and £1.9 million from Children's services.
Among recommendations are the closure of homes for adults with learning difficulties, with their transfer to supported accommodation in line with national policies, and cutting more than £200,000, nearly half the budget for schools to support schools that are causing concern.
West Dorset district councillor Alistair Chisholm criticised the council's cabinet system which he said led to less debate and an undemocratic concentration of power.
The council's Conservative administration maintains that it has no alternative as it juggles increasing costs, and reducing funding from Government.
Trades Council secretary Tim Nicholls added: "Food banks are the growth industry in Britain – and in Dorchester, Bridport and Weymouth."