Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 23 October 2014

Ministers 'deaf to our worries'

A poll by the Unite union showed two out of three people faced money troubles or job worries

The Government has been accused of being "deaf" to the concerns of ordinary people after a new study showed huge numbers were worried about their job or finances.

A survey of almost 1,500 adults in England for the Unite union revealed two thirds wanted the coalition to concentrate on investing in jobs and growth, even at the expense of deficit reduction.

The findings were published ahead of a meeting of the so-called People's Assembly, which brings together unions, politicians and groups campaigning against spending cuts.

Thousands of people are expected to attend the event in London, with speeches from union leaders including Len McCluskey of Unite, Mark Serwotka of the Public and Commercial Services union, Christine Blower of the National Union of Teachers, politicians including Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, and officials from a number of protest and campaign groups.

A series of People's Assembly meetings have been held across the country in recent months, which have been packed with members of the public. The aim is to forge links between unions, politicians and grass roots campaigners to highlight the impact of austerity measures.

The Unite poll showed two out of three people faced money troubles or job worries, with many voicing concern about soaring energy bills at a time of pay and benefit cuts. Mr McCluskey said the survey, published ahead of next week's Government Spending Review, revealed "genuine worries" among the public.

He said: "The Government is deaf to the everyday worries of ordinary people struggling to get by in towns across England.

"These figures remind us that deteriorating living standards, low wages, youth unemployment and job insecurity are now a major part of people's everyday lives.

"However, next week an out of touch Chancellor from an out of touch Government will claim that austerity is delivering the green shoots of recovery. Ordinary people seeing their young people on the dole, food bank queues stretching even longer and the NHS breaking will not buy this.

"While this Government opts to stay deaf to these concerns, we will be visiting towns across England listening to people and working with communities to build a better Britain."

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