Chancellor George Osborne’s attempt to present himself as the champion of labour at the Conservative Party conference has come under attack from TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady after he reiterated his commitment to cutting tax credits for low-paid workers.
“The government’s cuts to tax credits are an astonishing attack on working people,” said O’Grady. “They are so severe that, even with a higher minimum wage and higher tax threshold, most low-paid families will be much worse off. But despite people from his own party urging the Chancellor to think again, he has refused to listen.”
O’Grady also criticised Osborne for cutting public investment and for devolving business rates to local government without retaining a national government role in guarding against regional inequalities.
“The Chancellor has finally recognised infrastructure investment as the priority it should have been five years ago,” she said. “But if he keeps cutting public investment, then it will all be pie in the sky. We need a properly capitalised National Investment Bank to ensure the infrastructure that Britain needs gets built.
“We all want more decisions to be made locally. But by devolving business rates without any national safeguards, regional inequalities will get wider.
“The communities that most need investment are often those with the weakest business revenue base, so it is vital that the Treasury retains a significant role in regional economic development.”
More about the TUC can be found at www.tuc.org.uk.