Commenting on the implications for public services of today’s Budget, Trades Union Congress (TUC) general secretary Brendan Barber said:
“The £10bn boost to health spending is as welcome as its generosity was unexpected. It is to be hoped that this is a sign that the government realises the difficulties it faces from the collapse in morale among NHS staff.
“While we recognise the tough environment for public spending, and that it is always right to use public money as efficiently as possible, it is a mistake to think that arbitrary cuts in the workforce across many departments will not damage public services.
“The Treasury announced today that, at the end of December 2006, departments had reported workforce reductions of over 50,800, including 21,400 in the Department for Work and Pensions. TUC research has already shown the damage that cuts in the DWP have had on the services offered to some of the most vulnerable jobseekers in the country.
“The public will simply not understand why, when businesses are enjoying record profits, the chancellor has found money to cut their tax payments, while telling public sector workers, such as nurses and care workers, that they must get by on below inflation pay increases.”