Matlock’s Hall Leys Park was the scene of a mass protest against the Government’s austerity policies this afternoon.
More than 250 people turned out in glorious sunshine on Tuesday to hear Labour Party speakers, including Derbyshire County Council leader Anne Western, condemn cuts to vital public services.
Politics in the Park, organised by Matlock and District Labour Party, was also delighted to have national party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, take to the podium.
Mr Corbyn, who is currently fighting a campaign for re-election as leader, said he and supporters were holding public events in Labour strongholds and places which were yet to become so.
He added: “I have spent a very useful afternoon with Anne Western discussing foodbanks.
“On one level, thank-you to all the people who support them and the volunteers who keep them going, but on another level, why in 21st century Britain do one million people use foodbanks every year?
“And with all the trouble that the Government cuts have caused your council, you have still built that wonderful library in Heanor.”
Also speaking at the event, Coun Western said the council was proud to have stuck to its principles and continued to provide public services which others had not, such as home help for elderly people and a local authority-run youth service.
“For years now we have been viewed by the rest of the country as dinosaurs or as a bit old school because we still provide these services ourselves but in the last two winters we have been vindicated.
“Because you see up and down the country that hospitals are in crisis when people cannot be discharged as there is no social care provision for them to go home to.
“But we don’t have that problem in Derbyshire because we have a flexible team which can be deployed where it is needed. So, from being a bit of a dinosaur we have become the envy of the country.”
Coun Western drew her speech to a close by saying that this was the difference a Labour council could make and asking the gathered crowd to imagine the difference a Labour Government led by Jeremy Corbyn could make.
Meanwhile staunch Corbyn supporter and Matlock and Tansley Deryshire County councillor Andy Botham reminded the audience that Mr Corbyn was every bit a leader but he needed support.
Coun Botham said when he won the Matlock seat he was the first Labour councillor to have done so in more than 60 years and he won the seat on a socialist agenda.
He added: “It’s no good standing around waiting for something to happen. You have take part and change things.”