Commenting on the Pre Budget Report, Grahame Smith, Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) General Secretary said:
“The STUC recognises that the Chancellor had a particularly difficult job today. Surveying this morning’s media coverage you could be forgiven for thinking that the recession is already over and that only immediate deficit reduction matters.
“The Chancellor was right to resist calls for immediate public spending cuts but was wrong not to maintain a small stimulus whilst the economy remains so fragile. Increases in the basic state pension and disability benefits are a welcome and fair response to current economic conditions.
“However, it is hugely disappointing that the Government is seeking to force low paid public sector workers to accept real terms wage cuts and higher pension contributions to pay for the irresponsibility and greed of the bankers who caused this recession. The one-off tax on bank bonuses is entirely justifiable but a complete overhaul of the taxation framework is urgently required to ensure that it becomes genuinely progressive and in order that taxation makes an appropriate contribution to reducing the deficit”.
“The STUC will now study the detail of the PBR to ascertain the likely impact of cuts in public sector budgets. While we accept that there are savings to be gained from cutting back on the public sector’s use of consultants, we find it difficult to accept that cuts of this magnitude will not have a seriously detrimental impact on services”.
“Of course, disappointed as we are with this PBR, the Shadow Chancellor’s response was positively chilling in its disregard for economic reality and fairness”.
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