George Osborne continues to be ‘the snake oil salesman’ of British politics, presiding over a phoney recovery, giving the rich an inheritance tax gift, yet bringing harsh cuts to millions of workers struggling to make ends meet, Unite, the country’s largest union, said today (Monday 5 October).
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “Chancellor George Osborne’s speech to his party conference failed to tackle the issue of a faltering recovery; the looming swingeing cuts to working tax credits; the ballooning of the national debt; and the fact this government created the longest fall in real living standards since the 1870s.”
Unite warned that increases in tax rates for the lowest paid and the introduction of the so-called national living wage won’t compensate for the axe to working tax credits due in April 2016, as leading Tories such as London’s mayor Boris Johnson and former universities minister David Willets, now head of the Resolution Foundation think tank, raised concerns about the tax credits cut.
The loss of the credits could hit three million low-waged working families by an average of £1,000-a –year – and, in some cases, up to £1,700. The Institute for Fiscal Studies has warned it is ‘arithmetically impossible’ for nobody to lose out under the changes.
Len McCluskey continued: “Osborne continues to peddle his snake oil but the reality is that he has made a clear and heartless choice to make the poor pay through slashing the working tax credits while giving the rich a handout.
“The combined cost of his cuts in inheritance tax and corporation tax from the this summer was £3,415 million, which is enough not to make any cuts to in work support.
“So he has made a deliberate choice to make millions of working people over £1,000 worse off, while a few thousand millionaires get to hold onto their wealth.
“This was a choice based on political and class dogma, and not economic necessity.
“Increasingly, this government’s claims to be on the side of hardworking families yet granting the rich and powerful the constant indulgence of successive tax breaks is fast becoming a sick joke.
“Osborne’s looming working tax credits cuts are bringing terror to those working long hours on low incomes. To them, George Osborne does not look so much like a leader in waiting as the hammer of the ordinary working people and their children. His appalling plans to attack working incomes must be dropped, now.”
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble in the Unite press office on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940.
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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.