From the TUC

The Fairness Test for Cuts

26 Apr 2010, by in Public services, Society & Welfare

Today, the TUC joined a coalition of charities, including the Equality Trust the Child Poverty Action Group and Barnardo’s to ask the leaders of the main parties to commit to a Fairness Test on any tax rises or spending cuts they would introduce in government.

We know, from the experience of previous rounds of cuts, that cuts in public services tend to hit the poorest the hardest. Services – such as Sure Start – are often designed with poorer families in mind; cuts in these services therefore tend to be particularly regressive. The lower your income, the less likely you are to be able to afford any alternative, so cuts tend to reduce the freedom of the poor far more than the rich.

In addition, we know that social security benefits and tax credits are likely targets for cuts. There is increasing speculation that, just as in Mrs Thatcher’s time, a new round of cuts would begin with a benefits freeze. A freeze would mean that, once inflation is taken into account, people who have to rely on Britain’s disgracefully low benefit rates would be even poorer. Child poverty and inequality would most certainly get worse.

As the National Equality Panel concluded:

“A fundamental question is now whether the costs of recovery will be borne by those who gained least in the period before the crisis, or by those who gained most, and are in the strongest position to bear them.”

I can see it’s going to be a return to my youth – campaigning against cuts in public services. All the political parties that plan cuts should commit to an equality impact assessment of those cuts: all the party leaders claim to want to reduce inequality, this is a chance to show that they mean what they say.

Our letters to the three leaders have been reported in Left Foot Forward and the Guardian but this is not a one-off. I, for one, will be watching very carefully for a response from all three.

4 Responses to The Fairness Test for Cuts

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    Apr 26th 2010, 6:05 pm

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    Apr 28th 2010, 1:45 pm

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  3. The Case Against Cuts | ToUChstone blog: A public policy blog from the TUC
    Jun 16th 2010, 4:47 pm

    […] from the effect of public sector pay constraint and other spending constraints.” The TUC has argued that the government should apply a Fairness Test to all its plans, to make sure that the poorest […]

  4. Why we’re making the case against government cuts | Liberal Conspiracy
    Jun 17th 2010, 3:06 pm

    […] from the effect of public sector pay constraint and other spending constraints.” The TUC has argued that the government should apply a Fairness Test to all its plans, to make sure that the poorest […]