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Issue:- 16 September 2010

Coalition cuts unfair, unsustainable & irresponsible

THE shopworkers union Usdaw condemned the £60 billion worth of cuts announced so far by the coalition government as unfair, unsustainable and irresponsible and accused the coalition of forcing working people on low incomes to "carry the can" of reducing the deficit.

Moving a motion on Child Poverty at the TUC Congress in Manchester, Usdaw General Secretary John Hannett said:- "No-one can disagree that there is a need to tackle the deficit, but this must be done responsibly, sustainably and fairly. The cuts this government has announced, cuts to the tune of £60 billion are not responsible, sustainable or fair.   Far from reducing the deficit, their measures will make the situation worse. They will cost jobs, push up unemployment, reduce tax revenues, hit essential public services and do serious damage to the economy.  The cuts are on a huge scale, with welfare spending being one of the hardest hit, £11 billion over the next 5 years. Working parents on low incomes, disabled people and women will feel the full force of this blow.  This isn't just Usdaw's view or that of the Trade Union Movement, it's a view shared by economic experts across the board. Housing Benefit is being capped, benefit rates devalued, the health in pregnancy grant is on its way out, Child Trust Funds scrapped, Child Benefit frozen, Tax Credits rolled back, the Sure Start Maternity Grant cut.  Some would have you believe that these are small amounts of money, money that goes to parents that don't need it and won't miss it. But far from it, we know from our campaigning that every one of these benefits makes a real difference to our members' lives.  They can't choose to take or leave them, but rely on them to maintain a decent standard of living. Restricting their reach will have a devastating impact on millions of working families.  Labour's package of support for working parents was crucial. It enabled parents to make real decisions about going into paid work and made juggling paid work with family life manageable.  In short, Labour made sure work paid.  We will hold this Government to account for failing to tackle child poverty, for failing to consider the impact their measures will have on women, children and disabled people and for forcing working people on lower incomes to carry the can."

Do you agree with  Usdaw  or do you think the Unions are now being silly and risking recovery?   Email us your views on this...

Benefit Buffering is the way to get more of Britain’s 4 million unemployed households working....

20% of all the households in Britain do not include anyone who has a job according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS).  4 million households now have no adults in work, ONS figures show this is a 10 year high and the number is still rising. In the vast majority of such households no one is even searching for employment.

The Government’s principle long-term unemployment subcontractor, A4e, have long campaigned for an overhaul of benefits that would include a system of benefit ‘buffering’. This would allow claimants to ease themselves into work by keeping a portion of their benefit after they started earning.

“A4e have campaigned for a system of benefit buffering for many years.  We have created a ‘benefit culture’ in this country by making it financially so difficult for people to start work.” said Mrs Harrison. 

Government ministers have been shocked by the National Office of Statistics figures and the Employment Minister Chris Grayling said:- “Some areas of Britain are suffering from intergenerational worklessness, which is why we must act now to ensure that children living in workless households are not left behind like their parents have been.  This is why we are pushing ahead with our Work Programme, which will give people who are out of work and need a job the right support at the right time so that they can get into employment.”

The figures illustrated that the highest number of workless families were situated in the North East (24.3% of the total population for the area) while the lowest was in the South East (14.2%).

“It’s can be very frightening to take a job if you’re been living on benefits for a long time. You will have no buffer against the job not working out and if you have children it could be just untenable.  This Government will be tougher on benefit claimants and it’s the right thing to do, because work is good for people.” said Mrs Harrison.

A4e operates in 11 countries across 4 continents, employs over 3,300 people and turns over close to £200m a year. More than 1 million long-term unemployed have been found work in the UK.

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