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TUC Budget submission sets out the actions the Chancellor must take to improve pay and strengthen the economy

The TUC is today (Sunday) publishing its Budget submission to the Treasury and calling on the Chancellor to make the 2020s a decade of renewal – with green infrastructure, rebuilding of public services, and support for better quality jobs (DOWNLOAD IT BELOW).

The TUC has set out four challenges for the government to turn around Britain’s weak and austerity-damaged economy. And it has set budget tests on each challenge:

  1. Prepare the country for a just transition to a low carbon economy
  • A major increase in public investment to meet the UK’s net zero target.
  • Public investment in infrastructure and low carbon projects must come with requirements for job creation in neighbouring communities, trade union agreements, and minimum standards for pay and conditions.
  • Public investment in lifelong learning accounts, and a new right to paid time off to train.
  1. Invest in communities as well as infrastructure
  • Fresh plans on the future of social care, including how we fund, commission and provide services and support a world-class workforce.
  • A commitment and roadmap to reopen or replace the 500 children’s centres that were cut in the last decade, without raiding budgets for other services.
  1. Decent jobs across the country
  • Ensuring real wages are growing strongly for everyone.
  • Closed employment gaps across the country while keeping employment rising; and
  • A commitment to ban zero-hours contracts in the forthcoming Employment Bill.
  1. A strong economy with trade deals that protects jobs, rights and peace
  • Deliver the additional £100 billion pledged for public investment in infrastructure, with a further £25bn in each of the next three years on a just transition to a low carbon economy.
  • Fiscal rules must be revamped for an era of renewal and development, with recognition of the economic returns from investment in public services.
  • The UK’s priority trade deal must be with the EU. It must protect jobs, rights and peace, preserving frictionless trade in goods and services.

Urgent action needed to tackle coronavirus

The TUC is also calling on the Treasury to ensure the financing needed for an emergency support package for workers affected by coronavirus, including:

  • Emergency legislation to ensure Statutory Sick Pay coverage for all workers, no matter how much they earn.
  • An increase in the amount of sick pay to the equivalent of the National Living Wage.
  • A requirement that those asked by their employer to self-isolate on public health grounds remain on full pay.
  • An emergency fund to assist employers with the cost and to cover workers not currently eligible for Statutory Sick Pay.  

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“We’ve had a decade of devastation because of government cuts to essential services. Britain now urgently needs a decade of renewal to repair the damage.

“The Chancellor’s first budget must set out the roadmap for renewal in the 2020s. Britain needs major public investment to revive communities, raise wages and kickstart the transition to a net-zero economy. And alongside this we need a credible plan to deliver better jobs and higher living standards.

“The priority is reaching every part of Britain – especially the towns and communities where higher quality work is most needed. The UK workforce needs training in skills for a net-zero industry and a digital economy.  And the government make sure that every new infrastructure project has a union agreement to guarantee job quality and fair pay.”

On emergency action on to tackle coronavirus, Frances added:

“No one should be out of pocket for doing the right thing and following the government’s advice. But as it stands, many people won’t be able to meet basic living costs if they stay home from work.

“The Chancellor must fund urgent reforms to sick pay, so it covers all workers at a decent rate. It’s the sensible way to give working families the security they need – and to protect public health.”

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