Barber ridicules government claims that strikes could cost economy £500m


The TUC has hit back at government claims that next week’s strikes could cost the economy £500m.

The ministers in charge of pension negotiations, Danny Alexander and Francis Maude, said that 2 million people not working on November 30th would damage the economy by lowering output in the public and private sectors.

They neglected to say what the impact to the economy is of the 2.62 million people unemployed and unable to work on any day, or that the Royal Wedding cost the economy £30 billion.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber accused Danny Alexander of getting his excuses in ahead of next week’s Autumn Statement to Parliament, when the government will set out the government’s plans for the economy.

Brendan Barber said: “While the strikes will obviously cause disruption, the figures suggested by ministers are fantasy economics.

“This is the clearest sign yet that next week’s Autumn Statement will be a damp squib and the government is using the strike as yet another desperate excuse.

“Blaming the weather, the royal wedding and now scapegoating hard-working teachers, nurses and dinner ladies for the UK’s economic woes is pretty poor from a government that has presided over record unemployment and the weakest economic recovery for a century.

“Dedicated public sector workers take no pleasure in taking action next week but the blame for this strike lies squarely with the government for failing to engage in serious talks until unions decided on a day of action.”

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