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Date: Wed 5 December 2012

Autumn Statement: this is the road to disaster, more austerity is not the answer - UNISON Scotland

George Osborne’s Autumn Statement is yet more evidence that austerity is hurting but has no chance of working, UNISON Scottish Secretary Mike Kirby said today.

Mike Kirby said:
“The Chancellor stood up today and told us we were on the right track, and that turning back would be a disaster. The truth – as shown by his record of multiple recession, mass unemployment and a massive attack on public services – is that the ConDem austerity plan has already been a disaster.

“Promising still more austerity is not the answer to our growing economic and social problems. It is pure and dangerous ideological malice.

“The cuts George Osborne continues to impose hurt people who depend on public services and set back our economic recovery. 

“Half a million jobs have already been lost in the public services - 30,000 in Scotland - since the economic crisis began. And another 250,000 more are under threat - as we’re still only a quarter of the way through the government’s austerity measures.

“He says he’s ending the public sector pay freeze – but wages have dived far below the freezing point and public service workers are being frozen out from real pay rises for years into the future. The pensions tax of 3% which faces many of our members adds an extra burden.

“The Chancellor said we are all in this together, he said he’d make sure the rich would pay their fair share – then handed out a tax break to the rich, and cut the rate of corporation tax even further.

“In short this is the wrong budget for the wrong time.”

Mike Kirby added:
“The ‘extra’ which Scotland is promised isn’t quite as generous as it looks. It doesn’t go anywhere near making up for Scotland’s declining budget – cut as a result of the Chancellor’s disastrous austerity plan.

“However it does give the Scottish government some limited choices. We believe preventative spending is likely to be better for the economy, jobs and public services both in the short and long term than the much hyped ‘shovel ready’ projects which Alex Salmond has said are the only way to get the economy moving."


For further information please contact:
Mike Kirby, UNISON Scottish Secretary on 07939 143355
Stephen Low, Policy Officer - 0141 342 2811 / 0795 685 2822
Malcolm Burns, Communications Officer, UNISON Scotland, 0141 342 2877 or 078765 66978
Fiona Montgomery, Communications Officer, UNISON Scotland on 0141 342 2877 or 07508 877000 

Note for editors

UNISON has identified billions of pounds that could be used to provide an alternative to drastic public spending cuts that have vandalised our public services, devastated communities and laid waste to our economy. 

This funding would help save services, put people back to work, increase the taxes paid to the Treasury, boost consumer spending power and reduce unnecessary spending on benefits.

Sources of funding  could include the £34.8bn cash surplus built up by the Bank of England now being returned to the Treasury (£11bn in 2012/13 and £23.8bn in 2013/14)

A further £10bn could be raised by tackling aggressive tax avoidance schemes – and even more could be raised by making multinationals pay their fair share.