Thursday, 21 October 2010

Anger At Proposed Job and Budget Cuts

By Ben Aulakh

A host of public sector organisation, charities and unions have reacted with anger and dismay to the raft of spending cuts and threatened job losses announced in yesterday’s Comprehensive Spending Review.

Nearly half a million public sector workers face being made redundant as more than £80 billion of cuts will be made to public spending over the next four years.

Dave Prentis, General Secretary of UNISON, said: “For CSR read Cuts Strangle Recovery, the Tories’ ideologically driven, no hope, no ideas, cuts agenda is poisoning the country’s chances of recovery and risks 425,000 jobs in the private sector.

“The much-trailed cuts come as no great surprise, but the scale is a devastating blow to workers and their families whose jobs are in the firing line.

Unison also estimate the loss of local and national government posts could cost the Treasury around £4.6bn in lost tax revenue and £6.1bn in increased benefit payments.

They add that this could add an extra £10.7bn a year to the annual deficit, almost entirely cancelling out the stated £12.5bn saving to the public sector pay-bill. 

The Police Federation Chairman’s Paul McKeever has also criticised their services budget taking a 4 per cent hit, he said, “Let’s not pretend it will not be extremely challenging.

“We are likely to see a reduction in police officer numbers and the varying demands on the service increase all the time.”

“These cuts could mean that areas not covered by other agencies, such as dealing with people on the streets with mental illness, drug and alcohol issues and missing person enquiries, are the ones that suffer.”

Age UK, which represents the views and interests of the elderly have reacted to proposed changes to the retirement age, they said, “'It is disappointing that the coalition has decided to delay the retirement of millions of hard-working people.

“By bringing forward the increase in state pension age six years earlier than planned by the previous government and fast-tracking the state pension, the poorest will be hit the hardest, they risk shortening the retirements of those living in areas where life expectancy is low.” 

Action Group Youth Fight for Jobs have responded with fierce criticism to the news that the Educational Maintenance Allowance – EMA – for students is to be scrapped.

Ben Robinson, Youth Fight for Jobs chair, said "This is a real assault on young people, huge job losses are expected, with no new jobs on offer in the public sector. 

“Already two and a half million people are chasing half a million jobs and the Conservative's measures are only going to make that situation worse.”

Last week’s Browne Review announcements mean that many will already be ruling out university, how are we supposed to build an economy on skills when so many will be priced out of education?"

Alistair Jones, Lecturer in Public Policy at De Montfort University in Leicester is unequivocal about the effects these cuts will have on the public sector.

“People who work in the public sector do it because of an ethos, that what they do benefits others.

“These cuts in expenditure will undermine the work that they do and it may well make them not want to work in that area any more, which will adversely affect those who receive the service.”

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