Next week’s budget is a make or break moment for Britain.
Rishi Sunak can either keep us on the course to more job losses, more pay cuts and more misery or he can chart a new course out of this mess.
It’s his chance to give something back to the the millions of workers who have staffed the frontlines during this crisis in hospitals, schools, refuse depots, care homes, shops and elsewhere. It’s his chance to reward the workers who have kept our essential services running despite the fears of the virus or the isolation of home working.
No-one would suggest that a pay rise can heal the mental scars caused by a year of Covid, but it would show workers that their sacrifices have been appreciated.
But if Sunak and Boris Johnson are unswayed by the overwhelming moral case for a pay rise for key workers they might consider the economic benefit.
A recent TUC analysis showed that continued ministerially mandated belt-tightening would suck £156m out of the Eastern region’s economy. Across England the £1.3bn cut from keyworker pay settlements would cause a £1.7bn hit to England’s economy for the next financial year.
If the Tories want our high streets to bounce back from the pandemic they don’t need more gimmicks like Eat Out to Help Out, they need to put money in workers’ pockets.
We think the case for a public-sector pay rise is unanswerable. That’s why we’re backing TUC efforts to speak to individual MPs and make it, bringing together key workers from different sectors to tell their MPs why they deserve a pay rise.
Many MPs are agreeing to meet their constituents, but unfortunately some are running scared from them. We’ve already been forced to name and shame Ipswich MP Tom Hunt, who ducked a meeting earlier this week.
You can do your but by joining the TUC Rally for a Workers’ Budget on Tuesday at 7.30pm, the evening before the main event. UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea will be among the speakers calling for real investment in our public services.
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