ATL, NUT and Unite fear Osborne will use Budget to attack public sector workers


Unions have today called for the Chancellor to unveil a Budget for jobs, growth and tackling low pay.

But ATL, NUT and Unite admit they are likely instead to see a Budget attacking public sector workers while pandering to the rich.

Unite carried out a survey of 50,000 members which revealed disposable incomes have dropped by an average of £150-a-month – 20% – since April last year.

General secretary Len McCluskey said: “Money, so vital for keeping the shopping centres and High Street alive economically, is being drained from peoples’ wallets and purses.

“The continuing failure by the Chancellor to realise the error of his ways and wean himself off his austerity addiction has meant that Britain still faces the prospect of a recession and a 1980’s scale of joblessness for years to come.

“Last week’s appalling jobless figures – a 17-year high – mean that the Budget should be geared at getting people back to work – and in the case of young people, into work for the first time.

“George Osborne’s idea of fairness is making the rich even richer by cutting the 50p income tax rate. Fairness for those out of work or on low to middle incomes is an alien concept for a Chancellor whose instinct is to protect the rich.

“Pandering to the rich won’t help the lost generation of young people into employment.

“Today’s budget should be about putting money in ordinary people’s pockets and reversing the damage that has been wrought over the last two years.”

NUT general secretary Christine Blower said: “Every indication shows that the Chancellor will use this Budget to continue attacking teachers and other public sector workers.

“While public sector pay is being cut and our essential public services are run down, the Chancellor wants to cut taxes for the richest people.  This speaks volumes about the government’s priorities.  We are clearly not “all in this together”.

“Interfering with the national pay framework for teachers will deter graduates from teaching and shift existing teacher shortages around the country.  The private sector is not convinced about the use of regional pay scales and neither should the public sector.

“The government has failed on its promise to protect investment in schools. Many schools faced funding problems before the cuts.  Education cuts have major human, social and economic costs. Young people who leave school with poor skills cost the economy in lost earnings, lower tax receipts, higher crime and increased benefit payments. The Government should pay attention to this and start investing in our schools instead of attacking those who work in them”.

ATL general secretary Mary Bousted said: “Regrettably, the leaks coming from the Coalition government do not suggest we are going to get a Budget that will be good for children and improving educational achievement.

“We want a Budget that reverses any rise in child poverty by tackling low pay and supporting families on benefits.  One that reverses cuts in public services, such as to sure start centres, and reverses real-terms cuts in school budgets so that schools can make effective interventions to help pupils at risk of failure.

“We want a Budget that reinstates financial support so that youngsters can afford to stay in education and training over the age of 16, and removes the penalties on unemployed young people who want to train.

“Most of all, we want the Chancellor to produce a Budget that rejects the idea that the country is bust and cannot afford spending money on key public services.  The government needs to recognise that the only way to close the education achievement gap is to close the wealth gap in our society and start to reverse the long-term decline in wages as a proportion of national wealth.  If the 1,000 richest people in the UK gave up part of their wealth the government could wipe out the entire budget deficit.”



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