Chancellor 'not on the side of workers'

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham: chancellor 'has embarked on new round of austerity'

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Unite general secretary Sharon Graham spoke out after last week’s Autumn Statement, in which chancellor Jeremy Hunt sent out a clear message that he was not on the side of working people or their communities.

In the video below, Sharon explains:

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Sharon also commented:

The Chancellor has made choices which put him on the side of those benefiting from today’s economic crisis, and not the working people of this country.

By locking us all into an arbitrary fiscal rule, he is making a clear choice to use the chaos of Liz Truss’s leadership as cover to make working people pay for a crisis not of our making. He has embarked on a new round of austerity based on rules that he has made up himself. At a time when real wages are set to shrink two years in a row, and unemployment to rise by half a million.

Jeremy Hunt has chosen to meet his self-imposed targets by slashing public services and raising taxes on workers, rather than those responsible. Our members didn’t crash the bond market last month any more than they crashed the banking sector in 2008.

The Chancellor has chosen stealth taxes on wages, while cutting taxes on bank profits. Just as banks report leaping profits from high interest rates, and record bonuses in the City.

This in a country where, over the pandemic, the wealth of UK billionaires grew 22%, and the Treasury estimates that energy companies are making £170 billion in “excess profits” in two years.

None of this is inevitable. The Chancellor could have chosen today to fix the crisis in our NHS, where emergency workers who got us through the pandemic are being pushed out by real term pay cuts and crisis conditions.

He could have chosen to tax profiteers across the British economy, who have taken advantage of pandemic and war to drive up inflation and fill their pockets.

But our political class repackages the same failed approach, crisis after crisis, choosing to put a sticking plaster on a wound that needs surgery.

And that includes the Labour Party. Who today decided to accept the very basis for austerity and the cuts to our services that will inevitably bring. They chose to tinker rather than challenge.

It is clear. We need to make different choices. We need an economy that works for us all.

By Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary