Monday, 20 April 2009

Bailouts for the banks, Cuts for the public sector

With pre-Budget leaks suggesting £15bn of public sector cuts to be announced in Wednesday's Budget, PCS has put out the statement below:

Date: 20 April 2009
For immediate use


The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) warned that further spending cuts will damage services and jeopardise the delivery of government policies as it responded to today’s budget speculation that the government will cut spending by £15 billion.

The Chancellor has already announced £5 billion of so called ‘efficiency savings’ across civil service departments with speculation mounting that he will announce a further £10 billion of cuts in Wednesday’s budget.

Civil and public services have already been hit by spending cuts in real terms and ‘efficiency savings’ which have lead to over 80,000 job loses and hundreds of office closures.

Key areas such a tax, jobcentres and justice have all been affected. 25,000 jobs are to go and 200 offices to close in Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) by 2011. 500 jobcentres and benefit offices have closed over the last 5 years hampering the government’s ability to respond to recession and the justice system is in danger of delays and backlogs as the Ministry of Justice faces a year on year cut to its budget in real terms.

Commenting, Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said: “Further so called efficiency savings should not be at the expense of jobs and services. The government should be targeting the billions of taxpayer’s money wasted on the army of consultants. We have already seen the impact of cutting services to the bone in areas such as Jobcentres, whose tireless work has been hampered by a history of job cuts and office closures. Further spending cuts will jeopardise the delivery of frontline services which people are increasingly relying on as the recession deepens.”

Later today, when he addresses the Scottish Trades Union Congress in Perth, he is expected to add: “Politicians and commentators on the right are using emotive words such as ‘apartheid’ to sow division between hard working people in the public and private sector. Not only is it divisive, it is wrong. Low paid workers, wherever they work, are in this together, the victims of the excesses of the City and casino capitalism.

“The reality for thousands of civil and public servants across the UK, delivering services such as benefits, helping people back into work, tax credits and justice, has been job cuts, pay freezes and pay cuts in real terms. The reality for the communities they serve has been office closures and the deterioration of services.

“As the recession bites deeper and more and more people become reliant on public services, the government should halt office closures and job cuts in civil and public services. In this week’s budget the government should be talking about creating jobs across the economy and increasing the support for people hit by the recession. The government also needs to recognise the pressure that Jobcentres are under by committing extra resources and by reopening some of the 500 hundred they have closed over the last five years.”


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