If the Conservatives win the election in May, public spending in Britain could fall to its lowest level since the 1930s over the next five years.
That will mean more pressure on public services and the people working in them.
Under George Osborne’s plans, a further one million public sector jobs could be lost by 2020, with another pay squeeze, and a further freeze on tax credits for working people.*
All of this will hit the lowest paid workers hardest, and damage services we all depend on. Crucially, it will see an even greater increase in inequality that could damage our economy.
Why does it matter?
Over the last five years, most workers have seen their living costs rise while their wages have fallen in real terms.
David Cameron has presided over the longest squeeze on living standards since Victorian times. And neither public or private sector workers are seeing the benefit of any recovery in their pay packets.
Inequality is growing
As the economy recovers, pay and dividends have risen at the top — while the pay of ordinary workers has hardly risen at all, or even been frozen.
Low and falling wages are not just bad for workers and their families, they’re bad for the economy too. It’s the reason the government has less money to spend on vital services like the NHS, police and education.
Job insecurity is also leading to greater economic inequality. The Office for National Statistics estimates that there are 1.4 million employees on contracts that do not guarantee a minimum number of hours.
We need an economic plan that will do something for workers, their families, jobs and our public services.
“A recovery that only benefits the few privileged in this country is no good for the economy or for workers.
“The economy is not safe and nor are workers whose jobs are increasingly insecure. And the hardest-hit are communities and the most vulnerable.”
Dave Prentis, UNISON general secretary
Dave Prentis | Fair Pay Fortnight: The stakes for workers’ pay couldn’t be higher: http://www.unison.org.uk/news/general-secretarys-blog/fair-pay-fortnight
Read more about Fair Pay Fortnight and see how you can get involved: http://fairpayfortnight.org/
*Osborne moves to cut spending to 1930s levels: The Guardian 3 December 2014 http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/dec/03/autumn-statement-2014-george-osborne-spending-cuts
*Based on ASHE median public sector pay and showing decline in value for employee at top of pay band each year since the start of 2010