UNISON Scotland slams Osborne Budget as ‘a broken record of broken hopes’

Date: Wed 20 March 2013

UNISON Scotland leader Mike Kirby has described today’s Budget by George Osborne as a “broken record of missed targets and broken hopes” and slammed the government’s austerity strategy which makes public service workers pay for the sins of the bankers and the markets.

UNISON Scottish Secretary Mike Kirby said:
“Even in the Chancellor’s own terms, this Budget is a broken record of missed targets and broken hopes, which shows that austerity is not working.”
“A budget of the rich for the rich who will gain from the removal of the 50p tax rate, and for those of the middle England stereotype who gain some small tax breaks.
“The increase in personal allowance does little to assist many public service workers, who are still in a job, and in lower income households, having suffered by falling real wages, cuts to tax credits and rising gas and electricity prices.”
“The single tier state pension to be introduced from 2016 will present many more losers than winners, a £6 billion windfall for the Treasury from 2016-17, alongside big national insurance increases from the ending of contracted out rebates on NI for those who’ve been providing for life after work through occupational pension schemes.”
“The announcement that the government will seek significant further savings through reforms to progression pay is another disgraceful attack on public service workers who are being punished for the sins of the bankers and the markets.
Progression pay is the contractual process by which staff reach the rate for the job. It is not a pay rise.”
“The £2.5 billion extra cuts in public services may fund house building and other projects, but at the cost of revenue for other public services, when the public has greater trust in services that are delivered locally, so the chancellor should devolve resources for housing, infrastructure and jobs, not cut local budgets for central projects.”
UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis said the Chancellor was “out of ideas and should be out of a job.”
Dave Prentis said:
“The Chancellor is clearly bankrupt of ideas. His bleak austerity agenda and fiscal inertia is leading to stagnation, robbing the country of the Government’s prized AAA rating and tipping it towards a triple dip recession.
“Attacking public services is the Chancellor’s default setting. Osborne talks about supporting people with aspirations but does exactly the opposite.
“On top of the three-year public service pay freeze workers will now have their pay pegged to 1% until 2015/16 – what does that say about giving people aspirations?
“Osborne can’t dig the country out the hole he has made – more cuts are not the answer to revitalising the economy.”
“Cutting Whitehall budgets further will simply lead to the loss of more services that the millions of people rely on with little gain for the country as a whole. Reversing the tax cut for millionaires would have been a much fairer way to raise revenue.
“It’s Bleak House for the majority but the minority get to party on.”
Notes to editors:
1. UNISON is Scotland’s largest trade union representing 160,000 members working in the public sector in Scotland.
2. Full UNISON UK budget response release is online athttp://www.unison.org.uk/asppresspack/pressrelease_view.asp?id=3010