Hull City Council budget 2013: Outpouring of anger from protesters
AS THE voting bell chimed in Hull's council chamber, a hush fell across the crowded public gallery.
For many listening, this was a moment their livelihoods depended on.
Councillors were voting on a raft of cuts that could see 600 public sector job losses, centre closures and a rise in the cost of living for the elderly and vulnerable.
There was silence after the decision was read out as the realisation that the budget had been voted through sank in.
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Shouts of "shame on you" erupted from the balcony where they sat. Disapproving stares were cast upwards as councillors rose from their seats for a ten-minute break.
But it did not stop the chants from people who felt betrayed by the party they had voted into power.
"Call yourselves Labour councillors?" one man said.
In the run-up to the vote, the mood was subdued as trade unionists, jobseekers and protesters listened to debates.
Many were appalled by what they saw as a focus on theatricality at the expense of real argument.
Yvonne Anson, a care officer and member of Unison, watched tight-lipped as Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors disagreed.
"It's like a pantomime, how they talk to each other and nothing gets discussed properly," she said.
"They talk about the past, not what's happening now. They don't let each other speak."
GMB shop steward Neil Ware also felt let down by the decision.
"It tends to be empty words," he said. "It's almost like playground politics, with no one willing to tackle the real problem.
"I would like to see the council follow through the policies it was elected for, rather than raising the salaries of those at the top.
"We can make savings without closing down resources."
A banner protesting against rising daycare costs for the elderly caused a disturbance when it was unveiled on the balcony.
Lord Mayor Danny Brown, chairing the budget meeting, quickly ordered it taken down.
Amaya Orton, one of the women behind the banner, said: "It affects my 98-year-old mother, who has dementia and will have to live without daycare services because they're not value for money.
"The councillors seem to be saying they'll bend over backwards to allow the cuts.
"They're putting a charge of up to £60 a day on care that was previously much cheaper.
"They shouldn't be making a profit out of the elderly and vulnerable."
Users of Anlaby Park Library will also lose out as the new budget includes its closure next month to save money.
Chris Mead has campaigned to keep the library open.
"There are cracks in the walls but most of the buildings in Hull have cracks in them," he said.
"It's not a perfect structure but next year would have been the 50th anniversary of the official opening.
"I was disappointed it seemed to be a done deal – there was a lot of posturing but you expect that from politicians."
Sitting further along the gallery was Jack Houghton, a volunteer with the Warren Project in Hull city centre.
It provides counselling and support for struggling young people.
But council funding was lost last year, and Jack believes the project will be cut back again.
He shook his head as the budget was passed.
"They're removing a vital service to support young people," he said.
"All the councillors were doing was point-scoring. They could have all pulled together and saved our city but instead they focused on petty arguments."
Social worker Lesley Carline was there with Unison.
She fears the cuts will seriously threaten vulnerable people.
"It's affecting my clients directly and I can see things are going downhill," she said.
"There's an attack on our terms and conditions and they can't confirm they will save jobs."
Mark Swain, out of work and looking for a job, has already felt the bite of austerity.
He sat watching the councillors from beneath a woolen hat and was one of the first to shout out when the decision was announced.
"They don't realise the effect this is going to have on our society," he said.
"There are people who are going to starve because of this."
Only three Labour councillors broke with party ranks and challenged their own budget.
But Gary Wareing, Dean Kirk and Gill Kennett cast their votes against a backdrop of rapturous applause.
When he stood up to speak, Cllr Kirk reminded listeners of the worst days of cuts under Thatcher.
"Those days are coming back," he said, grimly.
Those listening in the public gallery nodded – and could only pray he was wrong.