This is no time for cuts – we need to invest in jobs and services that will help our economy recover from recession and build a fairer society. We can afford the services we need – if we cut out real waste and make the banks, big corporations and the super rich pay a fairer share in tax.
The real crisis in our economy
The financial crisis and recession were not caused by excessive public spending. They were the consequence of reckless borrowing and lending in the private sector, against a background of deregulation, low wage growth and insufficient public provision. Before the credit crunch, public sector debt was less than 40% of national income – it was the private corporate sector that was out of control, with debt at almost 300% of national income.
The coalition government talks as if public borrowing was the main problem we face today. But economists say our expected debt levels are sustainable – the real priority is to support employment and raise incomes. Since the credit crunch hit more than 100,000 homes have been repossessed, more than one million workers have lost their jobs, and more than 1 in 3 employees have had their pay, hours or benefits cut, including of course many in the public sector. The weakness of the “recovery‟ means this hardship is likely to continue. Former Bank of England economist Professor David Blanchflower has warned that cuts to public spending could send us back into recession and push unemployment to 5 million.
Even after the welcome increases of recent years, the UK still devotes a smaller share of its income to public services and social security than most other developed countries. Despite newspaper headlines suggesting that everyone now “favours cuts”, polling data suggests that voters want to see public services protected, even if that means higher taxation. Voters are particularly keen to see banks, financial institutions, large companies and the super-rich start paying a fairer share.
UNISON has developed an alternative budget that outlines a sensible path for economic recovery that won’t cause the massive damage that the Coalition government’s reckless cuts agenda will wreak on the British economy, on users of public services and on our communities. Click here for more.