KCLSU President, Sebastiaan Debrouwere, explains King’s involvement in last month’s march.
Sunday 29th September saw 50,000 people march through the centre of Manchester in defence of the NHS. Under the guise of austerity, the public healthcare system is facing real term cuts and the threat of on-going marketisation and privatisation.
The demonstration, made up of anti-cuts organisations, trade unions and student groups, was spirited. KCLSU sent a delegation of 20 students. Sebastiaan Debrouwere, President of KCLSU, explains more.
“Our core function as a Students’ Union is to represent our student body and empower them to get their voices heard. Taking part in the NHS demo in Manchester allowed us to speak up on behalf of the students who are being targeted by the Government’s frivolous NHS levy proposals.
“The proposal, that non-EU students pay a levy of £200 per year to access NHS treatment, only adds to the financial burden felt by international students. At a university like King’s, with a large international population, this levy would have a damaging impact on our community. It would become a less inclusive, less dynamic place to study. Cuts to the NHS also affect our medical students, many of whom travel from across the world to study at Guy’s. The government proposals amount to a double whammy for those students.
“The day itself was really successful and we got our message across as part of a wider national movement, which included many other students’ unions and the National Union of Students. It was great to see a solid turnout from King’s and an impressive 50,000 strong crowd from across the UK. Further, the atmosphere at the demonstration was one of firm but empathic opposition, but also of joy and celebration for the great accomplishments of the NHS in the past 60+ years. There were no arrests, and further demonstrations are planned.”