Government spending cuts brought some tens of thousands of people onto the streets of London and other British cities on Saturday in protest, with union leaders expected to call for a general strike.

Marchers carried signs reading "No cuts" and "Tax justice not tax havens", condemning the austerity measures introduced by Prime Minister David Cameron's coalition government in a bid to reduce Britain's huge deficit.

"Austerity isn't working. It is hitting our jobs, our services, our living standards," Mr Brendan Barber, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) umbrella body, was to tell a rally at the end of the march in Hyde Park. "Ministers told us that if we only accept the pain, recovery would come. Instead we have been mired in a double dip recession."

Britain climbed out of a deep economic downturn in late 2009 but fell back into recession at the end of 2011.