SCORES of protesters braved a cold and blustery evening to gather outside the office of Stroud district’s member of parliament to petition against the Government’s austerity measures and the unpopular “bedroom tax”.

Armed with placards, posters, banners and sparklers, around 20 people camped outside Neil Carmichael's new office in Nailsworth to protest the Government’s reduction in support for the poorest in the district on Tuesday (November 5).

With passing cars honking their horns in support, the chairman of Stroud Against the Cuts James Beecher, explained why he had orchestrated the demonstration.

“It’s about time we came to Neil Carmichael’s new office to complain about his government that is making the poorest pay more and are worse off than others in the crisis,” he said.

“As rent, bills and the cost of food, transport and other services rise, it feels like our wages are falling. Social security benefits are being cut or held the same while prices rise.

“The bedroom tax means people who are already really struggling must find more money for rent each week through no fault of their own.”

Joining the protest was Frances Mantle from homeless charity, Emmaus Gloucestershire.

Braving the five degree temperatures in nothing more than a polo shirt, Mr Mantle said the mattresses and blankets strewn out at the protest were to demonstrate that there would be more people on the streets because of the Government’s measures.

Homeless himself for 16-years, Mr Mantle said there was more than 12 people sleeping rough in the district already.

“The year before last we had a 23 per cent rise in people made homeless nationally, this year it is up to 40 per cent,” he said.

“We have to be here because when more cuts come in there will be colossal problems. We need the Government to realise the whole system needs to change.”

Mr Carmichael, who was in Westminster on Tuesday where other austerity protests were taking place, said the Government needed to rebalance the economy and that unemployment in the district was at one its lowest levels in years at 1,100.

“The Government is still spending £26 billion on housing benefit and it is important to calibrate that so people who really need a home get one,” he said.

“The end of the day the Government has to protect economic growth and that’s coming now and that will help our lowest paid people.”