Budget 2023: Hunt ‘rearranges the deck chairs for corporate Britain’.

Meanwhile, workers in the real economy face crisis.

15 Mar 2023| News

Unite have delivered their verdict on Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Spring Budget, accusing him of delivering a ‘budget of betrayal’ for the NHS while he rearranging the deck chairs for corporate Britain.

Unite General Secretary, Sharon Graham said:

“Today the Chancellor had a chance to save the National Health Service – starting by paying NHS workers their dues. Instead, he made the wrong choices and delivered a historic betrayal where there wasn’t a penny for NHS pay in the budget.”

So while Jeremy Hunt rearranges the deck chairs for corporate Britain, workers in the real economy face a crisis. This Budget does next to nothing to address the historic cost of living crisis hitting workers throughout our broken economy. Since 2010, real wages have fallen by 15% and that’s going to get worse.

Since the pandemic the top FTSE companies’ profit margins have soared by 89%. What’s the Government’s response? Delivering a ‘sleight of hand’ Budget. Today the Chancellor claimed that this was a budget for growth to benefit Britain. In real terms, it’s tax cuts for the rich and powerful and little reward for workers. This economic system is not only broken, it’s rigged and once again workers are paying the price.”

Commenting on today’s budget, TUC General Secretary Paul Nowak said:

“The Chancellor spoke about a high-wage and high-skills economy but did nothing to deliver it. The UK is still in the longest pay squeeze for more than 200 years. And our public services are still run-down and understaffed.

There is no plan to get wages rising across the economy. Real wages will not return to 2008 levels until 2026. And the elephant in the room is the lack of funding for our public services and the pay rises needed to recruit and retain nurses, carers and teachers.

We need a fully-funded workforce plan across our public services to recruit and retain key workers. And we need an investment plan to rebuild services – from fixing school buildings that are falling apart to restoring public health services.”

Unison general secretary Christina McAnea said the Budget had “more holes than on most public highways”, referring to a £200 million pledge included in today’s announcement to fix potholes. She said:

“It’s funny how the chancellor can lay his hands on billions when he wants. Ministers have sounded like a broken record, insisting the country can’t afford to pay key workers more.

Yet, in a flourish, there’s cash for another fuel duty freeze, tax cuts for those who need them least, and no action to curb the mega-profits of the oil and gas giants. But not a dickie bird on public sector pay.”

It’s meant to be a budget for growth, but allowing public services to wither away and failing to invest in the workers tirelessly delivering them will come back to haunt the government. Economies can’t thrive with weak public services.”

Mike Clancy, General Secretary of Prospect union, was disappointed the chancellor had “nothing to offer [civil servants] on their pay or conditions – let alone mentioning them in his speech”. He said:

“With pay already having fallen by up to 26% since 2010, our members simply cannot afford to see their living standards fall any further. Increases of just 1% in day-to-day departmental spending after 2024/25 show the government still doesn’t get it.

The threats of job cuts, slashing of redundancy terms and appalling attacks on their work by cabinet ministers must stop, and the Cabinet Office must come to the table and give our committed public servants the pay rise they deserve.

Without fundamental change, the civil service risks becoming an increasingly unattractive and uncompetitive employer, with the whole country suffering the consequences.”