Britain’s most senior trade union figure has warned that Rishi Sunak will spark public unrest if he prioritizes tax cuts before the election over higher wages for nurses, ambulance workers and teachers.
With the prime minister already under pressure from Conservative MPs to approve tax cuts in the spring budget, TUC secretary-general Paul Novak has warned that the public will condemn any such move, while a raft of public sector pay disputes remain unresolved.
“Politics is always about choice,” Novak said. “I worry that there is a real danger that, under pressure from backbenchers, the Prime Minister could be tempted into taking things like tax cuts. Giving tax cuts at a time when he’s having these huge crises in our NHS and elsewhere would be a A real mistake.
“I think there will be an uproar. Honestly, I think he needs to take a lesson from his party’s recent history that a tax cut would be a big deal at a time when the gap between shop floor pay and board pay is already felt to be widening. mistake.”
Novak’s intervention came at the end of a bruised week for Sunak, who rejected calls for tax cuts, angered some in the party, was fined by police for not wearing a seat belt and was slapped by Simi. A rebuke from Delands mayor Andy Street, most senior Conservatives outside London, is distributing upgrade funds.
Supporters of former prime ministers Boris Johnson and Liz Truss have both expressed concern over Sunak’s cautious approach to taxation, despite Truss’s attempt to impose deep cuts for the wealthy last year. The tax’s botched attempt at economic damage. The government is also concerned that Johnson may soon speak out against any compromise on Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit trade arrangements.
Meanwhile, pro-Brexit billionaire Sir James Dyson last week called on the government to reconsider “imposing higher taxes” on the private sector. While Sunak and his chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, are resisting calls for tax cuts ahead of next year’s general election, Conservative MPs are expecting them to.
Instead of cutting taxes, Novak said the government was making political choices to resolve a long-running dispute with nurses, ambulance workers, teachers and other public sector workers.
“You can choose to impose higher taxes on the oil and gas majors if you want to,” he said. “You can choose to raise the capital gains tax. This government has chosen not to do that. Generally speaking, people are confused about the choice of this government. He [Sunak] Bankers’ bonuses were still capped when we won record bonuses in the City of London last year. If you’re a paramedic, or you’re a physical therapist, or you’re a teacher, or actually a railroad worker or a postman, you look at this and you think: This government is totally Getting priorities wrong. “
Novak accused Sunak and Hunt of ignoring his call for a meeting to open pay talks, amid signs that even government departments have pointed to the Treasury as an obstacle to any progress. He also criticized a social media video of Hunt in which the chancellor explained the threat of inflation by showing how coffee had become more expensive, calling it “condescending”.
“The biggest question for me is: Why are Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt hiding?” Novak said. “Why aren’t they at the dinner table? Jeremy Hunt promised a parliamentary select committee at the end of November that he would sit down with the head of the Trade Union Confederation (TUC). Nothing yet. We haven’t had a meeting yet … Rishi Sunak still hasn’t responded to my meeting requests, or actually some requests.
“Whether it’s in health, education or the civil service, it doesn’t matter. At the heart of it all is that working people are not being treated fairly. The key to unraveling these disputes is really at the door of the 10th and 11th, I just don’t think you can avoid it This. The chancellor and the prime minister must come forward, stop hiding and get back to the negotiating table.”
Sara Gorton, Unison’s health director, said: “Jeremy Hunt knows the NHS better than anyone in the cabinet. As health secretary he negotiated a wage deal with unions that ended the 2015 strike. As [health and social care] Elected chair of the committee, he called for fair pay and acknowledged the damage done by scrapping bursaries for NHS trainees.
“But as Prime Minister he has chosen to forget. Whatever he says, Jeremy Hunt knows that raising pay is vital to addressing the NHS staffing emergency.”
A government spokesman said: “The government is doing everything it can to mitigate the impact of the strike, but union bosses should remain rational, stay at the negotiating table and call off damaging strikes. Pay must be affordable and fair, which is why we accept A recommendation from the independent pay review body to pay more for our valued public servants.
“Inflation-matched pay rises for all public sector workers would cost everyone in the longer term – worsening debt, higher inflation and costing every household an extra £1,000.”