From the TUC

TUC detailed PBR reaction

24 Nov 2008, by in Economics

This is our detailed press reaction to the PBR:

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:

“The Chancellor was right to inject this extra money into the economy. We welcome the significant extra cash that he has put into the pockets of low and medium paid workers, and the extra help for pensioners. The new Ofgem probe into energy prices has the potential to reduce fuel bills if pursued with vigour.

“It is absolutely right that the top one per cent, who have done so well in recent years, should pick up the bigger part of the bill for today’s boost. Indeed the Chancellor could have gone further. Cracking down on tax avoidance through new minimum tax rates on those earning more than £100,000 would probably make the planned National Insurance increases for those on ordinary and low pay unnecessary.

“Business has also received real assistance through investment in infrastructure, new credit for smaller firms and help for housing which will bring some relief to the heavily depressed construction sector. The Lending Panel may help get credit flowing again.

“The PBR has a definite green tinge, with help for insulation projects, fewer concessions on fuel and road tax than many expected and commitments on low-carbon energy. But there is much greater potential to create jobs and prosperity through embracing a low-carbon future than we saw today.

“But while we are supporters of much that has been announced today there are also some disappointments. We would have liked to see further measures on tax credits to help meet the Government’s child poverty targets. We are disappointed that the Government has still not met its manifesto commitment to increase redundancy pay, and that the two year time limit for help with mortgage payments remains.

“And at a time when there is going to be more demand on public services, we do not accept that there are easy efficiency savings that can be achieved without damaging public services. The Government has already exceeded the savings that Peter Gershon said could be achieved without pain.

“Today’s PBR is a vital and welcome contribution towards countering the recession. But more will need to be done. Further cuts in interest rates are needed, and if the banks will not start lending again after further encouragement today then more action will be required.”