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2013 Chancellor George Osborne's Autumn Statement - CSP and TUC reaction

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Reaction from the CSP and TUC to chancellor George Osborne's Autumn Statement.

On 5 December 2013 the chancellor announced, among other measures:

  • 'Continuing reform of public sector pay policy' beyond 2015-16 with a view to achieving 'best value for money from the pay bill'.
  • As of 2014 the 'piloting' of "pay bill control" in a small number of government organisations (to replace existing 1% cap) and which will involve setting a new financial control to keep the organisation's pay bill within a pre-determined budget agreed with the Treasury.
  • State pension age to increase to 68 in the mid-2030s (brought forward compared to original plans to raise it to 68 in 2046) and could rise to 69 in the late 2040s.
  • In April 2014, the state pension will rise by £2.95 a week.
  • Overall welfare spending to be capped. This follow the chancellor's 2012 Autumn Statement that a series of working-age benefits and tax credits would rise by only 1% a year for three years.
  • Petrol taxes frozen but regulated train fares to rise (in line with inflation, expected to be 2.7% CPI over the next 12 months)
  • Growth forecasts for this year more than doubled from 0.6% to 1.4%, for next year revised up from 1.8% to 2.4%, and for the following four years to 2.2%, 2.6%, 2.7% and 2.7%.

The CSP says

Assistant director of Employment Relations and Union Services Peter Finch said:

'Our members have already endured three years of this Government's pay policy which has eroded their living standards. Their pay has been frozen for two years and then capped at 1%, with this pay cap extending until 2016.

'We have a process for determining pay - through the independent NHS pay review body - and believe this should continue as the fairest way to set pay. We do not want to see any further government interference in it.

'And we only just reformed the Agenda for Change agreement to tie pay more closely to performance.'

'Furthermore, as the NHS Pension age is now tied to state retirement age, the Chancellor's plans also mean more of our members will have to work longer.'

'When we hear that company directors' pay is soaring in double digits, it is clear that Government promises that we are 'All in it together' have once again been broken.'

The TUC says

General secretary Francis O'Grady said:

'The Chancellor has failed to deliver the bold action we need on living standards.

'Growth may be returning but families are getting poorer. The official forecasts show that Britain's living standards squeeze is to get even tighter - a point curiously absent from the Chancellor's address - and is a major blow to hard-working people.

'The fact that stronger growth is being accompanied by even weaker pay rises proves that the recovery is passing most ordinary people by.

'Those with most to fear are Britain's growing army of low-paid workers who could face further cuts in their tax credits as result of the Chancellor's newly announced welfare cap, and who are increasingly being asked to work until they drop.'

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