UNISON yesterday branded the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement talking up the economic recovery as a “mirage”. The picture he paints is not being felt by ordinary working people across most of the country, the union said.
UNISON General Secretary said:
“The Chancellor can produce this mirage of an economic recovery and massage the figures as much as he wants, but it doesn’t mask what is being felt in the real world. Prices have risen faster than wages for 40 out of the 41 months in the past years. Average earnings are £1600 lower in real terms than when they came to power. There has been a massive explosion in the number of people forced to work part-time, on zero hours’ contracts and stuck on low pay.
“Raising the state pension age is cruel and unnecessary. It may be ok for the better off to work until they are 70 because they will have some years to enjoy their retirement. But for millions, they will never see their pension because they will die before that age.
“But does anyone seriously expect a 70-year old paramedic or nurse attending them in a medical emergency. And should we expect people who sweep our streets, clean our hospitals and schools to carry on doing those jobs?
“The fact is the Chancellor is rushing into saving money for today’s Government, but putting future generations at risk. Not all actuaries agree that we are all living longer so there should be a proper, evidence-based enquiry before any rash decisions are made. What about the quality of people’s life in retirement as well as the quantity?”
The union also called for the cuts juggernaut to stop,pointing out that unless people had money to spend in their local shops and businesses, tax cuts wouldn’t do them any good. Dave Prentis added:
“Many millions of workers have had their pay frozen for the past three years – a pay cut of up to 15% – while those at the top still get their huge pay, perks and bonuses.
“Local government is almost on its knees – and I know some councils may have to stop delivering services. And make no mistake these services are important.