Thursday, 5 December 2013

TUSC expresses anger at Autumn Statement: further attacks on the working class

Rugby Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) has reacted angrily to today’s Autumn Statement. “One again, the Tory/Lib Dem Government has decided to hit public services and ordinary working people, including those already in poverty”, TUSC spokesperson Pete McLaren claimed this afternoon, “and once again Labour has been conspicuous by its silence on these dreadful cuts

“The most vicious attacks outlined in the Autumn Statement are on those forced to rely on benefits. On top of the £19 billion per year already cut from the welfare budget, Chancellor George Osborne has today announced cuts of a further £3 billion over the next 3 years. The Tories had already announced that from April 2014, benefits and tax credits would only rise annually by 1% for each of the next 3 years, well below inflation.

“If forcing those already struggling to face further cuts in their living standards is not bad enough, the Government has stealthily slipped into today’s Statement a new plan to make unemployed young people work for their benefits. Those under 21 not reaching a required standard in English or Maths will have to undertake training every day or lose their benefits. All under 21 unemployed for over 6 months will have to do unpaid work experience, a community work placement or start a traineeship – at a time when youth unemployment has risen to 21% of the workforce – over 1 in 5 of those under the age of 25, one million young people. Unemployed people want to work, as they have been telling us as we leaflet outside Rugby Job Centre against Universal Credit. But there are no jobs – 5 people chase each one.

“The Autumn Statement also attacks pensions. Those in their 40’s and younger will have to work until they are 70 to get their state pension, 5 years longer than at present. People already struggling with health and fitness will be forced to work even longer – in order to save the Government £500 billion over the next 50 years.

“Public Services will also be hit by the announcement that most Governments departments face a collective cut of a further £1 billion a year for 3 years, leading to redundancies, loss of services and rising unemployment. It is a fact that the poorest suffer disproportionately from service cuts because of their greater need for them

“Today’s’ Autumn Statement is yet another attack on the poor and low paid. A TUC study shows that average household income has fallen to 2005 levels. Those in work are £1,600 a year worse off than in 2010 when this Government came to power. But the wealthy are not suffering. The collective wealth of the richest 1,000 people is the highest on record. Total pay for the directors of the UK ‘s top businesses has risen by a staggering 14% in the last year. As usual, there is one rule for the rich, and one for the poor – we are certainly ‘not in this together’ as the Tories keep claiming,” he concluded.

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