A few hours ago, UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, rattled through billions of eye-watering spending cuts, the biggest in decades, which will disproportionately affect the poorest families and most vulnerable workers, and harm their children and young people.
By the most optimist estimates, these cuts will depress the economy by causing a million job losses (490,000 jobs across the public sector), eviscerate welfare benefits and entrench patterns of poverty and inequality in Britain, worsening health and social outcomes.
These job cuts sit alongside a two-year pay freeze already announced and now a 3% rise in pensions contributions from April 2012, and confirmed our worst fears that this government has chosen to take more money from child benefits rather than from the banks.
The spending review also delivers a series of blows to the BBC, freezing its licence fee for six years, which according the NUJ amounts to a 16 % cut in real terms, cutting the Welsh language broadcaster S4C, forcing the BBC to pay from its licence income the annual £272m-a-year running costs of its World Service (currently funded by the Foreign Office) and to take over the funding of BBC Monitoring service.
In response the NUJ pledged to fight the cuts. “This is a full frontal attack on valuable public service broadcasting which will see vital services cut and thousands of jobs axed. We are determined to challenge them.” said NUJ GS Jeremy Dear. Every IFJ affiliated union must help the NUJ in this incoming battle.