STUC Budget Comment

March 3rd 2021

STUC Budget Comment

March 3rd 2021

Chancellor announces some necessary interim steps but falls well short on job creation and protecting workers and communities into the future

STUC General Secretary Roz Foyer said:

“In almost every area of this budget, the Chancellor has demonstrated that he recognises the need to intervene but has underestimated the level of commitment required to protect workers and the unemployed.

“We have continually pressed for the extension to the Furlough scheme to the end of 2021 and the Chancellor seems to have met us half-way. However, it is totally unacceptable that the Minimum Wage remains so low and that so many workers on Furlough are receiving only 80% of that figure. Minimum Wage workers on furlough will be over £4000 poorer by the time the furlough period finishes. We desperately need a Minimum Wage floor for all furloughed workers.

“The UK has the lowest unemployment benefit as a proportion of previous income in the whole of the OECD. Continuing the Universal Credit uplift temporarily is also welcome, but we will be campaigning hard to ensure the uplift is made permanent. Neither did the Chancellor do anything to address the scandalously low level of sick pay in the UK.

“The silence on public sector pay was deafening. This budget is a slap in the face for key workers in the public sector. We will continue to press the Scottish Government for a meaningful pay rise in Scotland.

“Whilst the announced job investment figures may sound large to some ears, they are actually woefully low. The £12 billion for the Green Infrastructure Bank falls far short of what is needed. The Chancellor should be making use of historically low interest rates to invest more to create good clean jobs to tackle unemployment and face the challenges of climate change. The best antidote to growing Government debt is sustainable economic growth. Low tax, low regulation, freeports are certainly not the answer.

“A longer-term strategy to tackle unearned wealth is vital. A future increase in Corporation tax is a key part of this but we need more far reaching action accompanied by stronger national and international action to combat tax avoidance.

“With a range of announcements appearing to imply direct Westminster spending in Scotland, the consequentials for our Parliament are unclear. What we didn’t hear were any commitments to extend the Scottish Government’s borrowing powers, something we will continue to campaign for.”

ENDS

For further details contact Dave Moxham 07891 026870

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