GMB, NUT, UNISON and Unite all criticise PM’s speech to Conservative Party conference


Unions have attacked David Cameron’s speech to the Conservative Party conference, accusing the Prime Minister of peddling the politics of fear.

GMB general secretary Paul Kenny said: “As the economy sinks it is easy for Cameron to talk about swimming for those on decks of luxury yachts buoyed up by the £40,000 a year tax windfall from his government to the multi-millionaire elite.

“The IMF has urged the government to ease up on the austerity. The Tories and Liberals ignored the size of the knock-on effect of public spending cuts on economic growth.  Between them they allowed Osborne to tank the economy. It is time for Cameron to steer the economy away from the rocks rather than talking about sinking or swimming.”

UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “David Cameron’s speech was full of typical Tory knockabout rhetoric – but sadly not as amusing as his nemesis Boris Johnson.  He blamed everyone but himself and the failed Tory no-hope austerity agenda that is dragging this country down.

“His speech may get applause in the Birmingham Tory bubble but back in the real world he had no vision, no hope for the millions of people struggling to find jobs where there are none.  His claims of job creation by the private sector are over-inflated by jobs transferred out of public services.

“And his claims that new businesses are springing up across the country simply ignore the shattered dreams and hopes of those forced to shut up shop or make staff redundant. With so many jobs under threat people have no confidence to go out and spend.”

NUT general secretary Christine Blower said: “The Prime Minister is wrong: adults do not need time to adjust to the government’s educational reforms, they just don’t want or need them. Secondary Free Schools are being set up in areas where there is actually a crying need for primary places. The academy programme is developing a fragmented and unaccountable education system across England. There is also the latest YouGov poll, which shows that adults and teachers are not convinced by the government’s proposed reforms for examinations at 16.

“If the government is truly serious about a high quality education for all, they need to stop cutting school and local authority budgets, ensure our class sizes are reduced and stop selling off school sports fields and libraries. Schools cannot reverse serious disadvantage unless they have resources, funding and expertise provided by the local authority.

“The NUT’s view is that education is both a human right and a public good. We will continue to campaign alongside many others to ensure this government comes to its senses and creates an education system which encompasses all children and all abilities.”

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey: “David Cameron says that we must ‘sink or swim’ as a country – yet, he has cut the life belt for the millions of Britons struggling to find work and juggling to make ends meet  with squeezed household incomes.

“He has conjured up the politics of fear – always the last resort for a politician facing the reality of their failed policies. It was a speech devoid of hope aimed at frightening people into submission, and accepting the coalition’s unfair and divisive policies.

“David Cameron has raised the spectre of an aggressive global market to hide the truth about his domestic policies that have seen youth unemployment soar to record highs and the NHS rapidly being privatised.

“And the only beneficiaries of his chancellor’s flawed economic strategy are the millionaires receiving a £40,000 income tax cut and the out-of-control City elite that kick-started the financial crisis in the first place.

“Britain is the seventh richest country in the world and we have the resources to boost manufacturing capacity, and provide proper jobs, high quality education and a truly national health service for all.

“Yet, Cameron’s policies are designed to benefit a minority, when what we need is a manifesto of hope for the many.”


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