TRADE unions in Darlington are inviting the public to show their love for the town on Valentine's weekend.

On Saturday, February 12, Darlington Against Cuts and the Darlington Trades Union Council are holding a campaigning day in the town centre.

They are inviting other trade unions and members of the public to go along and show their support and protest against the cuts being planned to public services in the town.

The theme of the campaign day is We Love Darlington.

The unions, led by the public sector union Unison, want to raise awareness of how the Government cuts will affect the town and persuade people that there is an alternative.

Alan Docherty, from Darlington Against Cuts, said: "The effect of the cuts hasn't filtered through yet.

"The groups that seem to be the most vocal have been given concessions, but the council hasn't solved the problem, they have just put it off. We want to keep the pressure on the council and get the message across that these cuts aren't necessary.

"We want to build a better protest movement and the reason we have chosen February 12 is it's the weekend before Valentine's Day and we want put the message across that we love Darlington and we want to keep it that way."

Like many public sector organisations, Darlington Borough Council is having to trim its budget dramatically.

It is expecting to have to lose £22m from its £107m annual budget at a cost of approximately 360 jobs.

The local government branch of Unison is attending the protest and urging people to resist these cuts.

Phillippa Scrafton, the Unison branch secretary, said: "Our view is that this Labourrun council is doing the dirty work of the Con-Dems. The cuts are way too sharp and way too much."

However, council leader John Williams said: "It's the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Government that's cutting too much, too quickly.

"The council has to reduce its services because the Government is cutting the money that we need to run them.

"If we didn't do this, we would be setting an illegal budget and would ultimately be barred from holding public office.

"The unions should realise that their enemy is the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Government and not the council. We're doing everything possible to protect services and jobs."

The protest takes place from 11am to 2pm, in Joseph Pease Place, Darlington town centre, on Saturday, February 12.