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Date: 19 March 2012

Time to kick start the economy - UNISON's alternative budget

“It’s time for the Chancellor to kick-start the economy and stop kicking the public sector” said UNISON Chief, Dave Prentis today (19 March). The union is warning that the Government’s mono-policy of cuts and more cuts* is a road to nowhere and what’s needed is fresh thinking to set the country on a course towards building confidence and growth.

The Government needs to start creating jobs and investing in the infrastructure and services our economy needs. We need a halt to policies that are damaging vital public services. Cutting homecare, closing libraries, shutting day centres for the elderly leave all the people who rely on them high and dry and the people that provide them needlessly without a job.

The government’s pay policy should be reversed and tax and benefit changes that reduce the incomes of those on low to middle incomes shelved.

Dave Prentis, General Secretary of UNISON, said:

“Cameron should have strong words with the Chancellor following his visit to the US. President Obama has shown that you can build the economy by investing in jobs and infrastructure. And Vince Cable hit the nail on the head by describing the Chancellors efforts on economic growth as “piecemeal’.

“Instead of pursuing his mono-policy of cuts and even thinking of tax breaks for the rich, Osborne should look at how investment creates a virtuous circle. Creating more jobs takes people off benefits, renews consumer confidence and spending which in turn boosts small businesses and powers economic growth.

“Fairer taxation would be a good start with the money raised being re-invested in creating jobs and homes. Significant sums could be raised without affecting the incomes of the majority, if the government made sure the financial sector and the super-rich paid their fair share.”

The union is arguing that the Chancellor does have a number of popular options available to him to help kick-start the economy. Between £35bn and £70bn could be raised each year by tackling tax evasion by individuals, companies and other organisations - such as the £6bn HMRC let Vodafone off paying.

In addition, if the Government dropped their hugely unpopular Health and Social Care Bill they could save £1bn, which could be invested in patient care, not creating a profitable private sector market.

(UNISON UK news release 19 March 2012)

* The cuts aren’t working: UNISON’s alternative budget for jobs and public services: Link to a PDF document on this siteUNISON's alternative budget (PDF)