Responding to the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement and publication of the OBR’s Economic and Fiscal Outlook, Grahame Smith, Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) General Secretary said:
“This was a low key statement that included almost nothing of significance that hadn’t already been widely trailed or previously announced. However it did confirm that the Chancellor continues to fail in his primary objective of cutting the deficit and none of the supply side measures announced today are likely to revive the Chancellor’s failed programme of economic rebalancing.
“As we’ve come to expect there was nothing whatsoever to assist people on low wages and benefits. Raising the personal allowance is an expensive measure that delivers three-quarters of its benefits to people in the top half of the income distribution. It is simply misleading for the Coalition to continually promote this measure as targeted at helping low paid workers.
“The STUC supports a unified corporation tax rate across the United Kingdom and will continue to vigorously make the case against devolution of this power to the Scottish Parliament.
“There is much of concern in the OBR’s latest report: household gross debt to income is forecast to soar above pre-crisis levels, net trade will continue to make a negative contribution to growth and business investment is forecast to remain muted. The OBR lays bare the extent to which cuts to public services are taking the strain of deficit reduction. Further cuts planned for after the election are simply not deliverable.
“The STUC does welcome moves to tackle tax avoidance through the new Diverted Profits Tax. However, with ongoing cuts to HMRC resources, scepticism is warranted about the ultimate revenue gain”.
Stephen Boyd 0141 337 8100 Dave Moxham 0141 337 8100