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  • Spending review is “big test for the government’s promise to ‘build back better’”
  • Union body calls for concrete plans – backed by investment – for decent jobs, resilient public services, and a just transition to net-zero

The TUC is today (Sunday) publishing its submission to the Treasury for the Comprehensive Spending Review, which will be announced alongside the budget on Wednesday.

The submission says that the current chaos in our energy markets, at our petrol pumps, and in our increasingly erratic climate shows what happens when government fails to plan for the future.

The union body calls on ministers to learn from the pandemic what can be achieved when government, business and unions work together - the job retention scheme helped save nearly 12 million jobs. And it calls for ministers to work with unions on plans for decent jobs, resilient public services, and a just transition to net-zero.

Recommendations for decent jobs and social security include:

  • Raise the minimum wage to at least £10 an hour now extended to young workers; and build on that with sectoral fair pay agreements, including social care
  • Consult with unions and business on a permanent short-time working scheme to protect jobs in industries facing disruption
  • Tackle labour shortages by working with business and unions to improve pay and conditions, and to outlaw unfair business models like zero-hours contracts
  • Reverse the cut to universal credit and raise the basic level to £260 a week
  • Provide decent sick pay for all by removing the lower-earnings limit and raising to at least the level of the real living wage (£330 per week)

Recommendations for resilient public services include:

  • End the public sector pay pause and reverse the cuts to the value of public sector pay that took place over the period 2010/11 to 2020/21
  • Create 600,000 new jobs in public services to fill gaps in provision and end excessive workloads
  • Funding settlements for public services that can address backlogs, improve quality, and meet future need

Recommendations for climate action and a just transition

  • Deliver the recommendations of the government’s Green Jobs Taskforce
  • Bring green infrastructure spending in line with its G7 peers, by allocating £42 billion a year for the next two years to shovel-ready projects that create jobs
  • Contribute a fair UK share to the global commitment to $100 billion in climate finance for poorer countries

[See the link to the submission in the notes for full recommendations, including a plan for skills]

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“The spending review is the big test for the government’s promise to ‘build back better’.

“Longstanding problems that hold Britain back must be fixed – like low pay and insecure work. We must see concrete plans to build a stronger, more resilient economy – backed by investment.

“Public services are essential to the resilience our economy needs. They must be better funded, with good pay and conditions to attract and keep high-quality staff. The spending review must deliver the funding to prove that this government is genuinely committed to building back stronger services.

“Too much of our economy has been taken over by business models that profit from low pay and denying workers’ rights. That must end. The Chancellor must set out plans to rebuild our economy in a new design with fair pay and decent jobs for all.

“When government, business and unions worked together in the pandemic, we saved millions of jobs. Any serious plans to ‘build back better’ must be made with a seat for unions at the table, not just big corporations. And the Chancellor must make sure that ‘leveling up’ includes higher wages.”

Editors note

- The full TUC spending review submission to the Treasury is here:

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