Unions react to ‘underwhelming’ Spring Statement

Rishi Sunak’s Spring Statement “tinkers around the edges’ of the cost-of-living crisis, Unite the Union has warned.

Earlier today Sunak announced a rise in earning thresholds before National Insurance needs to be paid and cut fuel duty in a bid to ease the cost-of-living crisis.

Sunak also announced a cut in fuel duty by 5p per litre, which he said was the biggest cut to the duty ever, saving drivers around £5 billion.

However, the statement has been branded as “underwhelming”, especially for independent retailers with limited help on rising business costs, according to the British Independent Retailers Association (Bira).

READ MORE: The Spring Statement 2022 – the key points for retail

Bira’s CEO Andrew Goodacre said: “Whilst we support cuts in fuel duty and an increase in NI allowance, this not nowhere near enough to offset 300% increases in energy, 100% increase in rates and double digit increases in the cost of employment. The 1p cut in income tax is a classic diversionary tactic designed to hide a statement which is short on support for business.

Reacting to the announcement, Unite the Union’s general secretary Sharon Graham stated Rishi Sunak’s Spring Statement just “tinkers around the edges “of this shocking cost-of-living crisis.

“Workers will still be facing sleepless nights worrying about how to make ends meet, overwhelmed by rocketing prices,” she said.

“His Spring Statement does nothing to tackle the corporate elite, the billionaires who stash their loot but sack UK workers by Zoom. Once again, ordinary working people bear the broadest burden while the super-rich get off scot-free.”

Usdaw also branded Sunak’s announcement as a “missed opportunity” to help low paid workers cope with the cost of living crisis.

“Today was an opportunity to deliver the Prime Minister’s promise to ‘build back better’, but regrettably the Chancellor stuck to ‘business as usual’,” Usdaw general secretary Paddy Lillis said.

“As the cost of living crisis rages, with RPI reaching yet another 30-year high, today’s measures which included a 5p cut to fuel duty, the possibility of cutting the basic rate of income tax from 20p to 19p (in two-years’ time) and raising the threshold for the amount people earn before they pay national insurance to £12,570, are simply not enough.”

He added: “I’m afraid the government has today not done what workers need in the face of the cost of living crisis. The government has simply failed to understand the scale of the challenge faced by millions of workers across the country.”

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