Commenting on the Chancellor’s Budget Statement, Grahame Smith, Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) General Secretary said:
“This Budget was clearly designed to meet the political challenge of the forthcoming general election rather than the significant economic and social challenges facing the UK. The windfall provided by falling inflation should have been reinvested in vital infrastructure to further embed the recovery and support good jobs, not pay down debt that is currently being serviced at historically low interest rates.
“There little to provide any comfort to the millions of low wage workers and benefit recipients hit hardest by the Coalition’s damaging and unnecessary economic programme. Another expensive increase in the personal allowance will do nothing for the five million lowest paid workers and will benefit most those in the top half of the income distribution. Measures to incentivise saving simply won’t resonate with those for whom saving is impossible. The pain of the massive spending cuts scheduled for the next three years will not be alleviated by the Chancellor’s commitment to increase public spending in the last year of the next Parliament.
“Giving people the ‘freedom’ to turn their annuities into lump sums is a charter for the kind of abuses that have characterised the UK financial services for the past three decades and therefore strict regulation of the advisory process is essential.
“The STUC welcomes the measures to support investment and exploration in the North Sea but, as long as the oil price remains around $53 a barrel, isn’t optimistic that this will be sufficient to safeguard jobs in the short to medium term”.
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