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Fury over 'unfair' spending cuts

Union leaders have attacked the Government for hitting some of the country's poorest families with more than 100 "unfair" spending cuts during the first 100 days of the coalition.

The TUC published a study of spending cuts announced in the past few weeks which it said will hit education, health, housing, welfare and social care.

Examples included the scrapping of the Building Schools for the Future Programme, cuts in housing benefit and free school meals and savings on help for young people looking for work.

The TUC urged ministers to reconsider the "swingeing" cuts to public spending and focus instead on other ways to reduce the deficit, such as the suggested "Robin Hood" tax on financial transactions.

General secretary Brendan Barber said: "Before the election we were told that cuts could be achieved through efficiency savings, that the most vulnerable would be protected and front-line services preserved. These pledges have not lasted 100 days.

"What makes this worse is that these cuts are doing the opposite of what the Government intends. Far from securing the economic recovery, they are slamming on the economic brakes. Growth will be well below potential and there is growing risk of a double-dip recession.

"We can only conclude that at least parts of the coalition are using the deficit as an excuse to secure the cuts in public services that they know that voters would have overwhelmingly rejected if faced with a manifesto that promised slash and burn.

"There is an alternative with policies designed to promote growth and to close the deficit with taxes that target those who did so well out of the boom years and have already escaped the recession."

Business groups praised the Government for the measures taken so far to tackle the budget deficit, but some complained that more should have been done to tackle red tape and over-regulation.

Miles Templeman, director general of the Institute of Directors, said: "After 100 days of government we are delighted that the coalition has achieved two key early objectives - an ambitious deficit-reduction plan and a Bill facilitating more school competition. If we want the UK economy to thrive, tackling the crisis in our public finances and creating a better-skilled workforce is absolutely central."


From Belfast Telegraph