Unions quick to condemn Osborne for making the rich richer and the poor poorer


Unions have been quick to condemn today’s Budget, accusing George Osborne of stealing from the poor to give to the rich.

Accusing the Chancellor of sucking demand out of the economy and reverting to the same old Tory tactics, of promising tax cuts just before the next election, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “This budget is not a road to recovery but a Road to Nowhere – no jobs, no growth, no idea.

“The Chancellor’s budget has given a helping hand-out to his rich friends in the City and delivered a slap in the face to the unemployed and low paid families.

“Osborne should be delivering policies to get the 2.67m unemployed people back into work and economically active.  Instead, the government’s cuts agenda is making the situation worse by adding to those numbers month by month. Since the coalition came to power, we have seen 625 public sector workers joining the dole queues every single day, bringing misery to hundreds of thousands of families.

“Far from encouraging economic growth, the Chancellors’ policies are sucking demand out of the economy.  Public sector workers are being hit with a pay freeze again this year and now the Government are proposing local pay which mean £1.7bn would be lost from the economy.  Taking money out of the pockets of hard working people will starve local shops, cafes and businesses out of much needed revenue sending the economy further downwards.

“The Chancellor’s budget gives with one hand and takes with the other.  The increase in the personal allowance will help those who are working – but offers no relief for the unemployed.  And we know that the government has already announced cuts to tax credits which hits hundreds of thousands of working families with children.

“Osborne’s budget flies the Tories true blue colours, but is a missed opportunity to restore desperately needed jobs and growth to the economy.”

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “We needed a Budget that looked to the future and made jobs – particularly for young people – the national priority. Instead we have got a Budget for the rich by the rich.

 “One minute the Chancellor said he found tax avoidance morally repugnant, the next he rewarded it by cutting income tax for the richest one per cent – with precious little relief for hard-pressed families on ordinary incomes. Treasury figures show that those on low and middle incomes will do worse than those higher up the income scale.
“This looks like a Budget made to keep the Coalition together rather than one made for the good of the country.”

GMB general secretary Paul Kenny said: “In this Budget the different treatment of people at either end of the income scale is stark. Ordinary families are losing their tax credits and child allowances and suffering pay freezes while people on top salaries of £150,000 to £1m a year are getting cash hand outs from the government.

“So much for the perception of shared sacrifice. The claim that it is necessary to boost the take home pay of those on top salaries to get the economy moving while cutting the pay of the lowest paid to achieve the same result is total and arrant nonsense.”

“The big picture is that the gamble this Tory Liberal Government took on the economy has not come off. The US economy which stuck with fiscal and monetary policy to promote recovery is now growing again and unemployment is falling while the UK Government decision two years ago to cut spending has led us in the opposite direction. This has added £ billions unnecessarily to the deficit.

“Only those with faith based economic theories would think that the loss of 381,000 public sector jobs which has already happened and which added to the dole queues in the middle of the worst recession in 80 years was the road to economic recovery. Osborne has as much economic nous as a stick or rhubarb.”

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said: “This is a budget of the rich for the rich. The tax changes mean that a banker on half a million pounds gets a kick back from George Osborne of £17,500, money robbed from our public services and the neediest in our divided society.

“The tinkering at the lower end of the tax scale will be swallowed up by increased utility bills and travel costs while the rich will just engage another army of accountants and lawyers to dodge the so-called clampdown on tax avoidance by inventing another barrage of scams.

“This budget unleashes savage cuts to jobs, wages, welfare and services in the public sector while pandering to the private greed of those same people who dragged us into this economic crisis. It will spark an upsurge in protest and resistance across the country as the vast majority realise that they have been mugged by this Government of the wealthy elite.”

The UCU said additional cuts to corporation tax were not the way to get the UK back on track. The union said corporation tax should rise and the money used to fund educational programmes.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: “Starving education of funds, axing grants like the EMA and hiking up the cost of access to college and university, while authorising billions in tax giveaways to big business, is not the way to get us back on track.

“If the Chancellor really is on the side of aspiration, he should be making access to education easier and creating a highly-skilled workforce that can compete in the high-knowledge global economy.

“The UK’s future is not as a haven for companies who want to move capital and have no loyalty. Lowering corporation tax will deprive the Treasury of billions of pounds and prove once again that talk of us all being in this together is utter nonsense.”

NUT general secretary Christine Blower said: “This budget will continue to divide society. The period since the election has highlighted the point that public spending cuts hit growth. Reducing public spending even further is an unbelievably backward move.

“Attacks on public sector pay and jobs will simply reduce spending power and further depress the economy at a time when investing in the public sector is essential to secure growth. Threats to national pay structures are yet another unjustified attack on public sector workers and will hit spending power hard in the poorest areas of the country.

“While the Chancellor rewards the most well off in society with his cuts to taxes for the wealthiest, youth unemployment and child poverty rates are soaring. The Institute for Fiscal Studies has said that if the Coalition Government’s current policies continue unchanged, child poverty will rise by around 100,000 every year. Failing to address these issues will have major human, social and economic costs. We are clearly not all in this together.

“High quality education is essential to economic growth, yet this Government has failed on its promise to protect investment in schools and colleges. While the Government pursues its unnecessary and expensive academies and Free Schools agenda, the majority of schools and colleges are left struggling to cope with the effects of cuts to schools’, colleges’ and local authorities’ budgets. No Government can afford to underfund society’s future; cuts in education undermine not only the economy, but social cohesion as well.”

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