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Government spending review finally unveiled – PCS opposes the cuts in DWP and across the public sector 26/10/2010

Posted by pcsdwpsheffield in Uncategorized.
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Cuts unveiled
The Chancellor, George Osborne, stood up in Parliament at lunchtime today and unveiled the biggest programme of cuts in the UK for decades, in his long awaited and feared comprehensive spending review.

There is an alternative to cuts
In parliament today, The Prime Minister, David Cameron said, “We are not doing this because we want to, we are doing this because we have to.” PCS believes that there is a clear alternative to the cuts – starting with collecting the £123 billion of uncollected and avoided taxes, cutting out the real waste in public services such as the use of overpaid private consultants or from the outsourcing of our work to the private sector who profit from delivering public services. Investing in jobs is also an important part of that alternative to the cuts. In DWP we took on extra staff to deal with the recession. In March of this year the then Chancellor was forced to acknowledge in his budget statement that by getting people back into work quicker than anticipated, DWP staff had saved an additional £4 billion.

Much has been made today of the huge benefit bill we administer – £192 billion. More DWP staff will be required to pay benefit correctly and on time and protect that public money and prevent unnecessary expenditure through fraud and error.

Unnecessary cuts threatened in DWP
PCS members were shocked to hear today of the threatened cuts of £6 billion in administration costs across Whitehall. As yet we do not know exactly what cut this means for DWP. This is despite the fact that unemployment is still substantial and likely to increase because of the cuts. At the same time massive changes to the benefit system are planned. The Chancellor announced his intention to replace all working age benefits and tax credits with one single simple universal credit. The intention being that this would be introduced over two parliaments with an investment of £2 billion. PCS members in DWP have delivered our much needed services fantastically well during the recession and quite rightly we have been highly praised. PCS will fight to maintain the resources and the staffing levels we need to continue to deliver our services well.

PCS will protect your job in DWP
Despite the threatened cuts, PCS believes that there will be no need for any compulsory redundancies in DWP and we will work hard to ensure that is the case. We have already met with senior management who have agreed to the earliest possible consultation with us on this issue in particular and to meet regularly with us to discuss members concerns over the cuts and to discuss the new DWP Business plan before it is published next month.

Making the alternative heard
PCS joined the TUC lobby of parliament this week to tell MPs about our alternative to the cuts. Today there will be rallies in many towns and cities and on Saturday, 23 October large demonstrations in every region are planned by the TUC, bringing all trade unions together along with charities and ordinary members of the public who fear these cuts. Please see your local rep for details of these events and make your voice heard by going along and supporting them.

The government is weak. It may have felt encouraged to make cuts when 35 business leaders wrote supporting these cuts this week. Many MPs however are feeling very uneasy now as opposition mounts and fear is replaced by anger at these unnecessary cuts. We must show that we are not prepared to accept these cuts. Over the next few weeks the determination of the government and the voices of a few self interested business people will be severely challenged by big protests and widespread public opposition to the cuts as the reality of half a million threatened job cuts, the state pension age increase to 66 by 2020 and massive and real cuts to the services we all rely on hits home.

 
What next?
PCS are adamant that DWP staff should not have to pay for this economic crisis – either in the pay packet or by having to work ever harder for less reward as jobs are cut.

Members at pay meetings up and down the country are already voting in large numbers to reject the pay freeze and the DWP offer – the first part of the government’s cuts strategy. DWP management could make a start by improving the pay offer to help improve morale in these difficult times. The next few months will be difficult but PCS reps locally and nationally will be doing their best to protect your jobs, pay and conditions and the services you deliver.

You can do your bit by attending workplace meetings and local rallies and campaigning activities PCS organises to fight the cuts, keep yourself informed and encourage any non-members in your workplace to join PCS now.

There has never been a more important time to be part of our union.

Together we will win.
Jane Aitchison Martin John
Group President Group Secretary

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