George Osborne was branded an “economic Dracula” who rarely emerges in public to justify his policies that have sucked the life out of the economy and caused misery for millions.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “Very rarely does George Osborne make set-piece speeches to justify his policies that have brought the economy to the edge of a triple dip recession.
“At the same time as the UK economy is flatlining, he is the architect of the so-called welfare reforms that are sucking hope from millions of people, some of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable in our country.
“Even his own backbench MPs want this economic Dracula to go back into his box and for William Hague to take-over in a desperate bid to save their electoral skins.
“This speech was littered with distortions and intended to do one thing: divide. The sight of the chancellor exhorting the low waged in work to turn their backs on the poor out of work has to mark a new low for one of the highest offices in the land.
"We should remember that 60 per cent of those on benefits are in work, paying their taxes. Low wages, not high welfare, are the problem - wages have not risen in real terms since 2003, while the greedy boardroom elite pocket excessive pay and perks.
“There should be an immediate £1-an-hour increase in the national minimum wage, which would help the lowest paid.
“Housing benefit has risen because private rental sector is wildly out-of-control and landlords have grown very fat on the lack of affordable public housing.
“The misguided bedroom tax will force more people out of affordable social housing and into the more costly private sector - and the benefits system will still have to take up the slack. This is crazy economics.
“This speech was a tired effort again to turn guns on the most vulnerable, while attempting to justify a tax cut for millionaires, which gifts them an average of £100,000 per year. Even his much vaunted claim of new private sector jobs has only come about because of the significant transfer of public sector posts.
“Of course we need a welfare system that works but that needs to be part of a sound economic policy, one which would put money into people’s wallets and purses to boost domestic demand and supports a coherent manufacturing policy to increase exports, underpinned by the creation of skilled jobs and plentiful apprenticeships.”
For further information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.5 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.