UNISON Cymru Wales says the pressure is on Theresa May to show her government really is driven to support ‘just-about-managing families’, in the budget on Wednesday.
The trade union has identified investment in public services and public service workers as priorities for government action this week. Public service workers have been subjected to seven years of pay freezes or below-inflation pay awards driven by the UK government, which have reduced their spending power by 21 per cent in real terms.
Margaret Thomas, UNISON Cymru Wales regional secretary said,
“Theresa May said on the steps of Downing Street she is on the side of ‘just-about-managing’ families. Now she must make good that promise.
“The 7-year pay cap has squeezed the household budgets of 390,000 public service workers in Wales by more than 20 per cent. That means families worrying about paying the bills and deciding what to chop from the supermarket shopping. It also means less money on Welsh high streets going into local businesses. We need an immediate end to the public sector pay cap.
“Healthy and liveable communities need decent public services. Yet our libraries, sports centres and youth clubs and other vital local services are rapidly disappearing as a direct result of UK Conservative government savage spending cuts. Austerity isn’t working and it is damaging Wales. We need fair funding for Wales and investment in public services not more austerity.”
The trade union is also calling for a massive council house building programme and the introduction of a Robin Hood tax on financial transactions. This small tax would provide enormous funds for public services at no financial cost to the overwhelming majority of the population. UNISON has said four months of a Robin Hood Tax could reverse all cuts to total Welsh government spending since austerity began.
Notes for editors
- On 13 October, The Joint Council for Wales, the body which brings together Welsh council employers and trades unions, has revealed seven years of pay freezes or below-inflation pay awards driven by the UK government have reduced the spending power of their workforce by 21 per cent in real terms.
- Currently, there is a tax on the purchase of shares which delivers £3.7bn to the UK exchequer each year. The Robin Hood Tax would modernise the existing Stamp Duty on shares and close current loopholes. This could raise £25bn of additional revenue every five year parliament, potentially providing a much needed new source of funding for local councils.
Alastair Gittins, UNISON Press Officer on 07816 538397.
Photo: Tracey Paddison