Public Spending Review

Union responses to CSR

read TUC response to Public Spending Review cuts CLICK HERE



  • Con-Dems raze public services to the ground

    • Responding to George Osborne's comprehensive spending review, Unite joint general secretary, Derek Simpson, said: "This is not a spending review – it's a massacre. It's totally perverse to claim that cutting half a million jobs and razing our public services to the ground is good for this country. No matter how often it repeats that its actions are fair, this government is making a political choice to attack the public sector and, by doing this now damaging the whole of the economy long into the future.
    • "There is no evidence that public sector workers who lose their jobs will find alternative work in the private sector.  In fact these cuts will destroy nearly as many private sector jobs as public sector ones."
  • Coalition myth of ring fenced NHS exposed, says Unite

    • The comprehensive spending review (CSR) has ‘driven a coach and horses’ through the coalition myth that expenditure on the NHS is ringfenced, Unite, the largest union in the country, said today (Wednesday 20 October).
    • Unite, which has 100,000 members in the health service, was commenting on the CSR which announced that the NHS would receive a 0.4 per cent real terms increase above inflation over the next four years.
    • But Unite argues that this is nowhere near enough to meet the increasing demands on the NHS from an expanding population, a growing segment of which is elderly; and also the advances in medicine and drug treatments.



  • For CSR read: cuts strangle recovery warns UNISON

    • George Osborne has condemned the country to decades of hardship and the people to unnecessary wholesale unemployment, with his “ideologically driven, no hope, no ideas, cuts CSR” warned UNISON, the UK’s largest public service union. The government has failed to consider that there is a fairer alternative.
    • The union says that the 500,000 public sector job cuts will prove a false economy and will cost the private sector a further 425,000 jobs. They could cost the Treasury around £4.6bn in lost tax revenue and £6.1bn in increased benefit payments – adding £10.7bn a year to the annual deficit and almost entirely canceling out the apparent £12.5bn saving to the public sector pay-bill.



  • GMB On Spending Review

    • After this review the broadest shoulders will still have the fattest wallets says GMB. GMB today commented on the comprehensive spending review. Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary said, "After this review the broadest shoulders will still have the fattest wallets. The price for George Osborne's day of reckoning will be paid by the economy, in the public and private sectors, and those unemployed, for a decade to come.



  • Usdaw says Spending Review threatens growth and could lead to a new recession

    • In response to the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Spending Review statement made today, the shopworkers union Usdaw said that the coalition's economic policy threatens to seriously damage growth and at worse risks plunging the UK into another recession.
    • John Hannett, Usdaw General Secretary said:"We accept there is a need to reduce the deficit but we believe the speed and depth of the proposed cuts is both unfair and irresponsible."



  • Generation will be thrown on scrapheap by massive cuts

    • The government's comprehensive spending review will put hundreds of thousands of public sector workers out of work and is an unprecedented attack on the welfare state, public services, communities, jobs and benefits, says PCS.
    • Chancellor George Osborne has today announced 490,000 public sector jobs will be cut over the next five years, with a 41% cut at the Department for Culture Media and Sport and the Ministry of Justice budget to be reduced by £1.3 billion, with a 24% reduction in CPS spending.
  • Welfare cuts are 'cruel' and 'immoral'

    • The government's comprehensive spending review represents another attack on the welfare state and will have a devastating impact on Britain's most vulnerable communities, says PCS.
    • The comprehensive spending review heralded a further £7 billion in welfare cuts, on top of the £11 billion announced in the June budget. These £18 billion cuts are a fundamental attack on the welfare state, targeting families with children, the sick and disabled, those on low incomes, and pensioners.



  • Comprehensive Spending Review – Education Cuts Harm Us All

    • Commenting on the Comprehensive Spending Review, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said; “The cuts announced in the Government’s spending review are a retrograde step and will have a devastating impact on vital public services, including education. 
    • “The Government may talk about protecting schools, but schools are not protected and nor are local authorities. Attacks are already being made on additional education funding outside of the core schools budget, with vital frontline services to schools already under threat. There will be a total real reduction in the education department’s spending of 3% by 2014 -15



  • Initial comment on the CSR

    • Commenting on the Comprehensive Spending Review statement, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union, said: “Compared to some services, schools may have appeared to have a stay of execution.
    • “But even on the limited detail available, it is clear that support for children and young people is being reduced dramatically.
  • ‘School budgets plundered to pay for pupil premium’ says the NASUWT

    • Following a more detailed analysis of the Treasury document underpinning the Chancellor’s Comprehensive Spending Review statement, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union, said:“Trying to work out the implications of today’s Comprehensive Spending Review statement is like knitting fog. However, we can be certain that many schools are facing a budget cut.
    • “It is also clear that, yet again, decisions have been made without any evaluation of the impact on the service and on individual children and young people.



  • Cuts condemn poorest

    • Commenting on the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) announced by the Chancellor today (Wednesday) CWU says it will hit poorest in society hardest and leave parts of the UK struggling with high levels of unemployment.
    • CWU general secretary Billy Hayes said: "Today the Tory Chancellor has delivered a devastating body blow to all who rely on public services. The cuts are too fast and too deep and seriously risk sending the country back into recession. The volume of cuts also threatens to leave parts of the country away from the south east struggling with mass unemployment as public and private sector jobs fall to Mr Osbourne's axe.



  • UCATT: Spending Review Further Starves Construction of Funding

    • Construction union UCATT has warned that the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review is further starving the construction industry of funding.
    • Today’s (October 20th) CSR announcement has confirmed that the Government is decimating the social housing budget, drastically decreasing the level of new social housing being built during the lifetime of this Parliament
    • The announcement that councils will have their budgets cut by over 28 per cent cut over four years, in addition to a freeze in Council Tax, will radically reduce the number of new local infrastructure projects being built.





  • 80,000 civil servants to lose their jobs

    • One in six civil servants is to be made redundant by the government in the next two years, the union for professional civil servants has said.
    • Information obtained by the Prospect union reveals that ministers have set a target for civil service job losses of 40,000 a year for the next two years, 2011-12 and 2012-13.
    • Dai Hudd, Prospect Deputy General Secretary, said: “The financial cost of redundancies on this scale is shocking, but the human cost will be terrible. “Scapegoating public servants who have done nothing to bring about the financial deficit shows that the government is tackling the symptoms of the deficit but not its cause.



  • Education cuts could lead to colleges and universities closing, warns union

    • UCU today (Wednesday) warned that massive funding cuts to colleges and universities could lead to institutions being forced to close across the country.
    • Responding to this afternoon's comprehensive spending review, the union said the full extent of the cuts would become clearer in the next few days, but that it was appalled that education maintenance allowances were at risk and funding to help non-English speakers learn the language will be scrapped.
    • UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'It is hard to see the rationale behind slashing college and university budgets when they generate massive economic growth for the country and when the alternative is more people on the dole and the state losing out on millions in tax revenues.
  • 195 job losses at Dundee University are unnecessary, says union

    • Dundee University has announced it will cut up to 195 jobs across the university as part of a strategic review of the activities of the University of Dundee. The union said it would fight any compulsory redundancies as it simply does not believe such drastic financial measures are required.





  • On eve of savage cuts to transport budget RMT exposes massive increase in top salaries at private operating companies

    • On the eve of the government’s expected announcement of savage cuts to the transport budget, specialist transport union RMT has produced new figures showing that at a time when passengers are being warned to expect fare increases of up to 40% over the next four years it’s bonanza time in the boardrooms of Britain’s main private transport operators.
    • The “UK Transport Rich List” is topped by Keith Ludeman – boss of the Go-Ahead group – who saw his salary rise by an incredible 35% from £916,000 on the June 2009 figures to £1,240,000 in July this year. Ludeman is responsible for the Southern Trains franchise which recently announced it was axing toilets on the key inter-city route between Portsmouth and Brighton.




    • Ten thousand fire service jobs are under threat from government plans to slash 25 per cent from fire and rescue service budgets over the next four years, the Fire Brigades Union warned today.
    • Responding to the Comprehensive Spending Review, Matt Wrack, general secretary of the FBU, said: “This government seems intent on imposing cuts that will wreak havoc within the fire and rescue service and short change both the public and firefighters.
    • “These pernicious cuts must be fought to defend public safety. They are not inevitable, but politically driven. The FBU will oppose these draconian attacks on an essential frontline service and robustly defend the key role firefighters play in keeping communities safe.
    • “We cannot just meekly roll over and accept this. Neither should the employers. Firefighters are professionals – and we won’t stand by and see our service dismantled piecemeal.”



  • Prison Workers throughout the United Kingdom are extremely concerned following the announcement from the Chancellor George Osborne as part of the full comprehensive spending review today. It has been announced that the Ministry of Justice budget will be reduced to £7 billion over the next 4 years realising an average 6% savings per year. Whilst the full details have not been announced leaders of the POA have registered grave concerns for the security and safety of the prison estate and general public.  
  • Colin Moses, National Chairman of the POA said: “If these savings bring about further reductions in the number of front line staff I fear for the security and safety of the professional men and women of the service. “The prison service has saved massive amounts of money year on year leading to an increase in the ratio of prisoners to prison officers and a reduction in the level of regime and rehabilitation in our prisons. Prisons are holding more and more violent and dangerous prisoners, the majority of which are serving longer sentences and have nothing to fear from prison”.
  • Steve Gillan, General Secretary of the POA said: “I understand the difficulties Government and the Ministry of Justice face as a result of the economy, but the safety of staff, public and offenders must not be endangered to save money. “The cuts to the MoJ budget should not be looked at in isolation and the overall safety of the public will be at risk as all the proposals start to bite across the criminal justice system. “We welcome the capital budget of £1.3 billion to maintain existing prisons and fund essential new build projects and look forward to the Green Paper to reform sentencing and set out intervention programmes, etc”.
  • The Ministry of Justice is required to set out its business plan setting out reform plans for the next four years, the impact of these proposals may well set the future agenda for the POA.




  • NEW: Frontline arts cut by 15 per cent

    • Equity has said that Chancellor George Osborne’s announcement of cuts of 15 per cent across four years to front line arts will hit theatres and other publicly funded live performance hard and Arts Council England has warned that 100 arts organisation will lose funding altogether.
    • Equity General Secretary Christine Payne commented: “Cuts of 15 per cent across four years to front-line art providers are very bad, although better than we had been lead to believe. In my view it is thanks in most part to the fantastic campaigning abilities of Equity members that we are not looking at cuts of 30 per cent and above as we feared. There is no doubt that these cuts will hit theatres and other publicly funded live performance hard and we will be monitoring closely how Arts Council England implements them.”



  • NUJ condemns the Government’s attack on the BBC

    • The National Union of Journalists has expressed shock and anger at the announcement to freeze the BBC licence fee and impose additional costs on the Corporation.
    • The plans linked to the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) unveil unprecedented public sector cuts and deliver a blow to the BBC.
    • The BBC is directly funded by the licence fee rather than through general taxation but the latest developments mean the Corporation is no longer shielded from Whitehall budget cuts or political interference.



  • Union urges Arts Council to stagger the cuts

    • BECTU will be urging the Arts Council to allow organisations to stagger the implementation of funding cuts arising from today's (20 October) government Comprehensive Spending Review.
    • BECTU will press the case for a managed approach to change so that arts bodies can be given every opportunity to limit the fallout from cuts to the Arts Council's income.



  • FDA responds to Spending Review announcement

    • Jonathan Baume, FDA General Secretary, said: "Senior managers in the civil service and wider public sector face the prospect of significant increases in their pension contributions, following the Chancellor's announcement today of additional savings of £1.8 billion in pension costs by 2014-15. In 2005 FDA members voted for strike action when the then Labour government tried to impose changes to pension arrangements without negotiations and agreement. The Government has listened to our arguments and refrained from making any pre-emptive decisions about the scale of such increases pending publication of Lord Hutton's final report. They must also ensure there will be comprehensive negotiations with the FDA and other public sector unions following Lord Hutton's final report before any changes are implemented.






Tuesday 19th October – UNISON, joined by PCS members took a coach to Parliament to lobby the local MPs on public service cuts prior to the governments spending review.

We  took part in the demonstration, meetings and lobby. None of the local MPs met us.


The cuts will damage public services  – Cuts are already damaging the quality of public services. In the 1980s and early 1990s children were taught in crumbling schools and hospital waiting lists soared as the cuts took effect. Investment since then has dramatically improved the quality of public services but the cuts risk turning back the clock. One of the coalition Government’s early moves was to withdraw much of the funding for repairing dilapidated school buildings and building new schools in areas of greatest need. Redundancies, pay freezes and large scale reorganisations will damage morale among public service workers. And as the Audit Commission has reported1, redundancies will lead to a loss of skills, knowledge and capacity that will damage service delivery. Increased workloads, stress and reduced resources will all impact on the quality of services that people receive. Politicians have said that they will cut ‘‘backroom’’ jobs that will not affect services. In reality, the staff who book appointments, process medical test results and ensure that wages and bills are paid on time are essential to the effective running of public services, allowing teachers, nurses and others on the ‘‘frontline’’ to do their work. The Government is also keen to increase the involvement of private providers in delivering public services. They say that this will cut costs and increase efficiency, but in fact there is little evidence that this is the case. Private Finance Initiative (PFI) projects often go over budget and are inflexible, leaving public bodies with debts far in excess of the initial cost.At the same time as the cuts a series of reforms are being planned that will undermine the quality and accountability of public services. Unions are not opposed to reform of public services in principle. But the aim of reform should be to make the services people use better quality and better value for money. The reforms planned in education and the NHS are liable to have the opposite effect by making service provision unequal, driving down quality and bringing in private providers. The NHS white paper proposes reform on a massive scale, which was not signalled in the Conservative or Liberal Democrat manifestos. It will give private providers a much greater role despite a proven track record of poor performance, and is likely to lead to a postcode lottery and to NHS patients being pushed to the back of the queue in favour of those who are willing and able to pay for care. The process of restructuring will be costly and disruptive. Education reforms are also being rapidly pushed through in an attempt to expand the academies programme and introduce ‘free schools’, with funding being diverted to the unaccountable organisations promoting this agenda. Encouraging high-performing schools to break away from the local community of schools and the support of the local authority will widen inequalities and damage the quality of education for the majority of children.

The cuts are unfair – Before the election we were told that the cuts would be fair. In fact, it is already clear that the cuts will hit the poorest and most vulnerable people in society far  harder than the wealthiest. Anyone earning around £20,000 or below is likely to face a significant blow to their incomes and to the services they use as a result of the cuts. They will also hit certain regions of the UK harder than others, with a danger of a widening north-south divide. The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) looked at the impact of changes to benefits and tax credits and found that the impact of the government’s plans is regressive. Their analysis of the Coalition’s June 2010 Budget3 found that the changes announced by the new government were regressive, with low income households of working age set to lose out the most. And recent TUC analysis shows that the cuts to housing benefit are predicted to make 82,000 households homeless in London alone. Researchconducted for the TUC and UNISON looked at the ways that households with different incomes use public services, and quantified the impact that cuts to services will have. The research found that the cuts will hit the poorest thirteen times more than the richest. The bottom 10 per cent of the population will suffer reductions in services equivalent to 20 per cent of their household income, while the richest 10 per cent will lose the equivalent of just 1.5 per cent from cuts that the Government plans to implement by 2013.

Cuts will hurt the private sector – Far from providing the jobs to make up for those lost in the public sector, the private sector will be hard hit by public sector cuts. Of every £1 spent by the public sector, 38p goes on procuring goods and services from the private sector.6. Health (£71 billion), defence (£26 billion) and economic affairs (BiS and transport) (£23 billion) are the biggest customers of the private sector and will all be affected. At the same time as firms are losing public sector contracts, people working in the public sector are likely to cut back on their household spending as they face a pay freeze in a time of rising prices and are living in fear of redundancy. This will hit local businesses and tax receipts.

The cuts won’t work – The government tells us that the cuts are essential to put the economy back on an even keel. But in reality there is a significant danger they will have the opposite effect. Withdrawing spending from the economy while it is still fragile and unemployment is still high will hurt the entire economy. In Ireland, the government started cutting earlier than other countries and has been praised in some quarters for its hard line approach to the deficit. But in fact a series of cuts to benefits, education, transport and public sector pay and pensions over the past two years have failed to address the deficit. On the contrary, the Irish economy is facing a double dip recession, with figures for the second quarter of 2010 showing that it shrunk by 1.2 per cent. Public services have suffered, with bus and train fares rising above inflation and plans to reduce class sizes dropped. There is therefore a real danger that instead of addressing the deficit the cuts could tip the UK back into a double dip recession or at best a sluggish, jobless recovery. Many eminent economists agree: in February 2010 sixty senior economists wrote to the Financial Times7 to argue that the focus must be on growth, not on cuts that could weaken the fragile economy.   


Our alternatives

The Government says that there is no alternative to cuts and that reducing the deficit must be the top priority. Our response is that there is an alternative: a sensible, flexible long term approach to reducing the deficit with a longer timescale and far more emphasis on fair taxation and the proceeds of growth.

A different timescale – The government is pressing ahead with a punishing timescale to reduce the deficit, despite the continuing weakness of the economy. We are calling for a far more flexible timescale which allows the economy to recover from the recession, and for economic growth to form the backbone of any deficit reduction strategy.

Fair taxation – The government has chosen an 80-20 split to address the deficit, with 80 per cent coming from spending cuts and just 20 per cent from taxation. Most of this will come from a rise in VAT, the most regressive tax. This is a political decision. Unions are arguing instead for a much stronger emphasis on fair taxation in addressing the deficit. Taxes can be raised and lowered relatively quickly and so are more effective in addressing the deficit than long-term spending cuts. They can be used to ensure that the burden does not fall disproportionately on low and middle earners and they can play a positive role in reducing the rampant financial speculation that triggered the crash. For instance, a tiny ‘‘Robin Hood tax’’ on big financial transactions by banks could raise £3bn per year8. Far more taxes could also be collected now without actually changing any tax rates. The TUC has estimated that £25 billion is lost to tax avoidance by wealthy individuals and companies each year and that a further £8 billion is used up in tax allowances and reliefs used by the well-off9. It has also been shown that recruiting an extra 20,000 staff to work on tax collection could bring in an extra £20 billion a year10. Each pound spent on tax collection brings in at least 30 times as much in income for the Treasury.11 Despite this, the government is actually planning to make cuts to HMRC, damaging their ability to collect the tax that is due and uncover fraud and scams.

Investing in growth – Above all, long-term growth is the sustainable way to reduce the deficit. This means working closely with the European Union and countries outside Europe to take coordinated action to support the economic recovery. Public spending must be maintained across the world to prevent the risk of another global recession. And the government must make good its pledge to be the greenest government ever by investing in green technologies, home insulation that will provide skilled jobs and exports as well as tackling climate change.

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