by Steve Sweeney
Morning Star | 09 March, 2017
LABOUR hit out yesterday at an “out of touch” Budget that shows the government is “not on the side of the workers” since Chancellor Philip Hammond’s spending plans fail to address poverty pay and falling living standards.
Jeremy Corbyn accused the government of failing to understand what daily life is like for millions of people and the “crisis” in Britain’s public services. He said Mr Hammond was “entirely out of touch with the reality of life for millions.”
The Labour leader continued: “Last night, over 4,000 people will have slept rough on the streets of this country.
“And the Chancellor made his boast about a strong economy, but who is reaping the rewards of this economy? For millions it is simply not working.”
He accused the government of “cutting services and living standards of the many to fund and continuing to fund the tax cuts of the few” with the announcement of £70 billion in tax breaks for the wealthy.
“This is a Chancellor and a government not on the side of the workers,” Mr Corbyn insisted, citing falling living standards, low pay and job insecurity.
“We are the only major developed country in which economic growth has returned, yet workers are worse off.
“Wages are still below the 2008 level.”
Public-sector pay rises have been capped at just 1 per cent, below inflation, since 2010.
Public and Commercial Services union general secretary Mark Serwotka warned that the government’s refusal to scrap the pay cap condemns low-paid staff to staggering real-terms wage cuts of up to 20 per cent.
Unison general secretary Dave Prentis added: “Without a mention from the Chancellor, public service employees will be feeling they’re the forgotten part of the ‘jam’ generation. Most are not managing at all.”
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey tore into the Budget, calling it “extraordinary.”
He said: “The only thing we remain sure of is this government remains wedded to the senseless austerity that hurts working-class communities hardest.
“The only promise we have is that of yet more cuts to our public services, which are already at the point of crisis because of years of Tory austerity.
“We called upon the Chancellor to show that he has listened to the concerns of working people, to prove that he is determined to create an economy based on decent, secure, well-paid work. He failed.”