STUC Comment on UK Budget

March 11th 2020

STUC Comment on UK Budget

March 11th 2020

Too little, too late: Tory budget fails to undo the lasting legacy of austerity and provides insufficient support for workers during coronavirus

Commenting on today’s budget announcement Grahame Smith STUC General Secretary said:

“The Tory party has finally accepted what people have known for years, investing in infrastructure and public services is good for the economy. Ten years too late, prompted by the current crisis, the Tories also seem finally to have realised that you can borrow to spend as well as borrow to invest.

“But today’s budget is a long way shy of what is needed. Announcements on spending for the NHS and infrastructure development are welcome. But they do not compensate for the years of cuts and under investment which have left our economy and public services in such a fragile state. The Chancellor might talk tough on ending austerity and boosting productivity but it’s too little, too late, particularly given the economic challenges ahead.

“The coronavirus emergency exposes a lack of resilience across our economy. With emergency funding announced for the NHS, the Chancellor recognises the challenge, but cracks cannot be papered over when pressures around staffing and beds have been rising year on year. The crisis in social care continues despite the vital role it plays supporting those most at risk. The Chancellor has found that there is little he can now do to fix a system starved of critical investment and strategic planning.

“It is deeply unfair and frankly, dangerous, to have failed to take meaningful action on sick pay. Potentially millions of people will be left to struggle on less than £100 per week. Sick pay levels in the UK are a disgrace and the Chancellor did nothing to remedy that. Neither has the threshold for accessing sick pay been reduced.

“We are also deeply sceptical that using the Universal credit system is the best way to support workers in the gig economy and those not classed as employees. Britain’s millions of workers who work pay cheque to pay cheque should not feel driven to present at work for fear falling deeper into poverty. That is why the support for business announced by the Chancellor - whether related to the corona virus outbreak or not - should be conditional on fair work and the proper treatment of workers.”

ENDS

For more information, please contact Dave Moxham, Deputy General Secretary, on 07891026870 or Rachel Thomson, Campaigns & Communications Officer, on 07974966227.

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