Anti-cuts squatters who have occupied a redundant Deptford job centre have vowed to stay there as long as possible to draw attention to the reductions in public services both locally and nationally.
“We have taken the space in order to demonstrate our resistance to the cuts Mayor Steve Bullock and his Labour cronies, under the orders of the Tories in Westminster, are promising us. The Council aims to slash £88 million of its budget within the next four years. Libraries, day care centres and early years centres will all be closed while we have to suffer from pay cuts and price rises,” they say on their website.
On Saturday evening, a group of around 50 people met at the former job centre in Deptford High Street to discuss how they could make the building useful to the community. They decided to open a “social centre” which will open next Wednesday, the closest market day.
Deptford Jobcentre Plus had had around 2,000 users in the area. It closed last November after the lease for the premises expired, despite hopes that government funding could have helped save the centre. The building is set to be demolished and redeveloped. The occupation of the building began last Friday.
Kirstie Paton, who lives in New Cross, said: “As a mother, as a teacher and as a socialist I think is really important that we claim our lives back and one of the ways to do that is to take over this places that have been abandoned and claim them for ourselves.”
Jeff Holland, who is unemployed and lives in New Cross Gate, said: “I used to come to the job centre and now I have to go to Catford, which is really inconvenient for me and for other people as well. I don´t know what’s going to happen here but it seems quite exciting.”
Phil Jeffries, from Ladywell, said: “We need to have our own spaces under our own control, we don´t need to ask permission or have the money to hire.”