Unions respond to Autumn statement

THE CHANCELLOR delivered his Autumn statement on the Government’s economic policy today in Westminster.


Commenting on announcement the TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:


‘When you are self-harming you should stop, not look for better sticking plasters.

‘With the economy still scraping along the bottom, unemployment set to rise and the Chancellor missing his own debt target, we need a fundamental change in direction, not more muddling through.

‘Cuts, austerity and squeezed living standards stretch seemingly without end into the future. What is missing today is any vision of a future economy that can deliver decent jobs and living standards – it’s pain without purpose.’


“The Chancellor’s autumn statement is more bad news for the public services that millions of people rely on every day” warned Dave Prentis, General Secretary of UNISON.


“He is piling on the pay pain for millions of public sector workers . A 1% increase on the heels of a 3 year freeze that has cut pay in real terms by 15%, is another blow for hard working public service workers and their families.

“Public services including the NHS, schools and higher education, council services for young and old alike are all under the Chancellor’s cosh. He has failed to deliver on his growth targets and in getting the country out of recession and people across the country are suffering as a result.

“By targeting the public sector for sustained cuts he is also hitting the private sector. Public sector workers and their families have been hard hit by the pay freeze and 1% would mean less money to spend in their local shops and businesses, strangling growth and damaging further the chance of economic recovery.


PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said:

“It is glaringly obvious that not only is the millionaire chancellor George Osborne wildly out of touch with the lives of millions of people in this country, but also that his economic plans are miles off course.

“Two years ago we said austerity wouldn’t work and we were right. It didn’t work then and it won’t work now, but the chancellor is refusing to change track, presenting a smoke and mirrors statement that will do nothing to boost our ailing economy.

“Such a toxic combination of arrogance and economic illiteracy would be laughable if it wasn’t so serious, if real people’s lives and communities weren’t being torn apart by this government’s failed policies.

“Instead of using hard-working public servants and those entitled to benefits as a political football, the chancellor should admit his mistakes, invest in public services and chase down the tax dodgers who deprive our economy of tens of billions of pounds a year.”


Billy Hayes, CWU general secretary, said: “To make the rich work harder you pay them more, to make the poor work harder you pay less. Osborne forgot nothing and has shown he’s learnt nothing in today’s 1930s-style budget statement which rewards the rich with a tax cut while reducing benefits in real terms for the vulnerable.

“We need jobs and investment to get the economy growing and to bring employment to the millions of people both unemployed and underemployed across the UK. Cuts are not the cure.”


Commenting on the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement and the publication of the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) report on local and regional pay, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:

“The war on teachers waged by the Coalition Government continues. The value of a national pay framework has been recognised by other pay review bodies but the STRB appears to be seriously out of step. Teachers may be forgiven for drawing the conclusion that the independent STRB has been leant on.

“The recent replacement of three members of the Review Body by the Secretary of State may not be unconnected. If implemented, the STRB’s recommendations would leave behind the wreckage of a national pay framework which will be incapable of delivering consistent, fair and transparent approaches to pay. These proposals place virtually unlimited discretion on teachers’ pay in the hands of headteachers at a time when unfairness and discrimination are already rife.

“The dismantling of the national pay framework is going to be bad for children’s education and bad for the teaching profession. Children and young people should have an entitlement to be taught by those who are recognised and rewarded as highly skilled professionals; these proposals will not secure this. We will be studying this report in detail, but the key proposals already give us serious cause for concern.


“However, the Chancellor has finally been forced to concede what everyone else knew all along, that regional and local pay was a bad idea. Pay review bodies have wasted their time and taxpayers’ money pursuing the Chancellor’s flawed and ideological prejudices.”



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