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Autumn Statement: The Chancellor’s attempt at a ‘give away’ budget is too little too late says Usdaw

Date: 22 November 2023 Retail trade union Usdaw has condemned the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement as a desperate attempt to grab headlines in the hope that voters will forget thirteen years of austerity, their crashing of the economy and the biggest cost of living crisis in more than a generation.
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “Today the Chancellor delivered an Autumn Statement which was long on spin and short on the change our members so desperately need. Increases on minimum wage rates and in-work social security still lag behind the horrendous price increase workers have suffered and still do not provide a living wage that takes account of the cost of living, even with a lowering of national insurance. He is deluded when he says they have ended low pay.
 
“The Government continues to fail to tackle the insecure employment that undermines incomes and leaves too many workers vulnerable to sudden and severe losses of income. That is why we need a new deal for workers and only Labour is committed to delivering it. The poor employment rights framework and a lack of investment in the NHS, which keeps workers on sick leave, fundamentally undermines any ‘back to work plan’ that seeks to get people off benefits and into work.
 
“Usdaw had urged the Government to take decisive action to support our high streets and in-store retail, including the introduction of an online sales tax, to level the playing field for businesses, but they haven’t done that. Extending support on business rates is welcome but doesn’t go anywhere near far enough. In the last year, despite a business rates discount for retail, over 67,000 retail workers have lost their jobs, with nearly 5,500 retail stores shutting up shop. This continued sticking plaster approach isn’t good enough, we still need an industrial strategy for retail.
 
“The Chancellor wants voters to think he has today delivered a ‘give away’ budget, but what he has offered is too little too late. Our members will see through this, they know that this Government is not on their side. We need a general election now and a change of government, because only Labour will deliver the change the country needs.”
 
Notes for editors:
 
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with over 350,000 members. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemical industry and other trades www.usdaw.org.uk
 
Usdaw’s submission to HM Treasury about the 2023 Autumn Statement included:
  • Retail recovery plan to help our high streets get back on their feet and compete effectively with online retail.
  • Cost of living crisis continues to have a severe impact on most workers who desperately need help to make ends meet.
  • New deal for workers to make work pay and end the insecure employment that leaves too many struggling with the cost of living.
  • Universal credit and social security does not provide the safety net that many need and remains a disincentive to earn more.
Full Usdaw submission: www.usdaw.org.uk/AutumnBudget2023
 
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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The official website of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers