UNISON blasts government over public finance figures

UNISON has condemned the government’s response to last week’s public finance figures, denying that the slight fall in the monthly deficit shows that the government’s long term economic plan is working.

Instead, UNISON points out that the reality is a rise in government debt from £870 billion when it took office in 2010 to £1.212 trillion today.

By imposing billions of pounds of cuts on public services, the government has choked back demand, reduced the revenue needed to tackle government debt and prolonged the recession.

Professor John Van Reenen of the London School of Economics commented: “In 2010 the chancellor said the deficit reduction programme would be done in four years. Now it will go on for at least another four, as only a third of the projected economic growth materialised.”

The consequences are being felt in the huge and sustained reduction in the value of ordinary workers’ wages.

Within the next five years there will be more than 200,000 more children in poverty nationally because of the government’s austerity policies, according to Baroness Ruth Lister, former head of the department of appliced social studies at Bradford University.

Meanwhile the government has handed big business billion of pounds in tax cuts by reducing corporation tax from 28% in 2010 to 20% in 2015, and slashing the top rate of income tax for Britain’s highest earners.

“This government needs to wake up to the terrible damage its austerity policies have wrought on the lives of people and communities across the UK,” said UNISON assistant general secretary Karen Jennings.

“While the government is congratulating themselves on Treasury statistics, the real world shows the wreckage left by years of their savage cuts – wages sliding as household energy prices rocket, families and children plunged into hardship, young people without hope of work or stuck in dead-end jobs that offer no chance of getting on a housing ladder, services for the most needy in our society cut to the bone.”

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