Unite general secretary denounces government for ripping apart public services


Unite general secretary Len McCluskey today denounced the government for “ripping apart our public services and cruelly pushing people into poverty.”

Addressing a fringe meeting at the Labour Party conference, McCluskey said:

“The people that this government attack for being a ‘burden’ on public spending are the people who look after our sick, who educate our children.

“Daily, we are bombarded with the message that ‘there is no alternative’ to the assaults on our public services and welfare state. People hear nothing to give them hope from ministers or the media. We are now facing a depression far longer than that which gripped the globe in the 1930s.

“Little wonder then that people are frightened. They are worried about losing their job, they are anxious about how they are going to pay their mortgage, they don’t know how they will be able to afford to educate their children.

“They see a future that is bleak. And they see a government that, despite all the indicators and the chorus of calls to change course, rigidly sticks to its ‘cuts and hurt’ strategy.”

Len McCluskey called upon Labour to offer a clear alternative to the coalition’s strategy:

“People are crying out for leadership. They need to know they can feel hopeful about the future of our country.

“Labour must lead this – but it cannot simply be the party that cuts a little less than the Tories. That will not win the next election.

“Labour must offer a vision of hope with policies that will deliver growth, jobs and fair taxation. It needs to tell the voters straight – Labour will improve your living standards, no more must you fear your children will be worse off than you.”

Unite is calling for alternative economic policies which it says are a win-win for everyone, including:

  • putting the publicly-owned Royal Bank of Scotland to the better use of the nation by instructing it to invest in the economy, operating as a National Investment Bank (NIB)
  • Instructing the NIB to build 100,000 homes, so creating 750,000 construction jobs and beginning to tackle the 4.5 million people in housing need in this country. Building housing starts declined by 61 percent in the first three months of 2011
  • Ending the government’s increased tax burden on the lowest paid through VAT increases and the nasty stigmatisation of those on benefits, while protecting the high earners by failing to pursue the £70 billion in tax which is illegally evaded each year with an additional £25 billion avoided.

Len McCluskey continued: “Labour must put itself firmly on the side of ordinary people. This is in sharp contrast to this government who are on the side of big business and the powerful.

“We need jobs that are good jobs, for this nation to lose its unwanted crown earned as the easiest place to sack workers in Europe and its reputation as an unhappy country where the poorest are clobbered while the wealthy see their riches grow.

“This is the way to win the next General Election – and to transform our country into the more equal, prosperous society we all want it to be.”



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