GMB Responds to ConDem Government’s Spending Review

20 Oct 2010


GMB today commented on the comprehensive spending review.

Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary said, “After this review the broadest shoulders will still have the fattest wallets. The price for George Osborne’s day of reckoning will be paid by the economy, in the public and private sectors, and those unemployed, for a decade to come. In a well leaked, well crafted ideological speech, arrogantly delivered, the demise of public services and the welfare state was laid out in front of us. As this plan unfolds and its impact is felt in homes and communities up and down the country the Tory/Liberal authors will find life increasingly difficult at the ballot box.”

Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary for Public Services commented, “The Chancellor has today left hundreds of thousands of workers in a state of trepidation with a sword of Damocles hanging over their heads. Although the focus has been on possibly 490,000 public sector job losses up to 2014, we know from this summer’s OBR report that the real number is 620,000 when you factor in a further year. GMB analysis is that another 350,000 private sector jobs will be directly affected too putting a million more people on top of the 2.5 million officially unemployed already. This is a terrible decimation of the whole economy’s workforce.

There is no guarantee from the Chancellor that other jobs will materialise to replace the ones that are guaranteed to be lost. The economic fundamentals of the fragility of the financial sector and the lack of growth in manufacturing have been addressed only by weasel words with no firm plan. The conclusion has to be that the Chancellor has gambled everyone’s livelihood on a bet that is unlikely to come off.

The Chancellor has gone far beyond the recommendation of the Hutton pensions review. Osborne says that public sector workers have to pay another £1.8 billion a year, about a 50% increase. This is ridiculous it just isn’t doable. It is not acceptable, it simply cannot be afforded. Public sector workers cannot be squeezed any harder. The local government sector is particularly hard hit. Council workers have already delivered huge efficiency and productivity savings and a pay freeze. What’s their reward? Cuts equivalent to 25% translates to up to 300,000 jobs. It’s a real sickener and it means that community services will be slashed dramatically.”

Naomi Cooke, GMB National Pensions Officer added, “In more fantasy figure work the government claim £5bn will be saved by increasing the state pension age yet they have no credible plans to keep people in work. Osborne claims increasing the state pension age is necessary in order to increase the state pension yet beyond a diluted triple guarantee he has no plans to increase the £100 a week basic state pension. Debt for the young and poverty for the old – this is the government’s definition of fairness. Welfare payments are to be slashed. There will be many more people claiming them as a direct result of George Osborne’s announcements today.”

Kamaljeet Jandu, GMB National Equality and Inclusion Officer said, “This budget will lead to a greater inequalities in society and expose the most vulnerable to greater hardship. This budget is likely to have a negative disproportionate impact on women. 75 % of the burden of this budget will be shouldered by women, as was the case in the interim budget of June 2010. Unemployment for ethnic minority communities currently running at twice the national average will be exasperated; people living on disability allowance will be left to fend for themselves in a ever increasing levels of unemployment.”