Chancellor George Osborne has been accused by Britain’s biggest union, Unite, today (Wednesday 16 March) of having only one-trick in his armoury - cuts - as he misses yet more targets, irresponsibly fails manufacturing and continues to bang the nation’s head against the austerity brick wall.
Commenting Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “This is a one-trick chancellor – and his one trick is to cut because he refuses to act to grow our economy.
“He has had to revise down his own growth targets because his so-called jobs ‘miracle’ is actually a jobs fraud. Real, shared prosperity is impossible in an economy built on low pay and where zero hours jobs have risen by 15 per cent in recent months.
"Every reputable economic body on the planet has urged him to abandon his clearly counterproductive austerity, decrying his approach as 'bad economics.' Yet still he ploughs on banging the national head against the austerity brick wall, imposing billions more in cuts to services that are already down to the bone.
"Working people are still £40 a week poorer because of his policies. His senseless drive to run a surplus by 2020 will be paid for out of the wage packets of people who deserve far better than broken services and a personal debt burden that is the heaviest in the western world.
“His claims to be acting to improve the life chances of our young people will stun parents and our members currently fighting to save the children’s centres that have been celebrated for improving social mobility but whose doors are closing thanks to his policies.
"In times of a flat global economy his responsibility is to stimulate UK growth and productivity, yet this budget is largely silent on any strategy to support our manufacturing industries. These, not the City of London, are the bedrock of sensible, shared prosperity, but are being irresponsibly ignored by a government that puts its ideological convictions above the national interest.
“What we needed to hear urgently but did not was that there would be help to stop cheap imports such as Chinese steel destroying jobs and government determination to put British industry first.
“Our oil and gas industries are in crisis, and while the chancellor may ease the immediate pressure, both these sectors need sustained investment and engagement by government now or they will decline beyond repair on this government’s watch.”
“Re-announcing and rehashing projects from last autumn's budget statement is an insult to northern towns and cities desperate for decent jobs and fed up with being used as this government's fig leaf. We need spades in the ground now.”
For further information please contact Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869.
Notes to editors
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.