27/06/2013

NIPSA Slam Chancellor's Budget Cuts

Public sector trade union, NIPSA, has criticised Chancellor George Osborne following Wednesday afternoon's Spending Review.

Yesterday, Mr Osborne revealed Northern Ireland's budget for the year 2015/16 is to be cut by 2% to £9.6bn.

As health and education form a large part of the region's spending, the total budget has been relatively unscathed by the cuts, however the Chancellor did confirm the end of automatic progression pay for civil servants, as well as plans to end it for teachers, prison staff and police.

This would mean that most public sector workers within NI will no longer receive annual increases in pay based on length of service.

In response, NIPSA accused Osborne of attacking "hard working public sector families who have borne the brunt of the burden of cuts – yet it is not public servants who created the countries debt."

A statement by NIPSA's General Secretary, Brian Campfield, read: "Yet again George Osborne has focussed his attention on public servants and the most vulnerable in society. The Chancellor has announced the abolition of annual pay increments for civil servants.

"NIPSA is fundamentally opposed to this and will be raising the matter directly with the NI Assembly especially as Northern Ireland Civil Service pay is devolved matter and therefore the Assembly does not have to slavishly follow suit.

"The Chancellor also set his sights on incremental pay progression for NHS staff and other public sector workers. Again NIPSA will seek to work with other public sector trade unions to resist any attempts to abolish pay progression for all public sector workers."

Mr Campfield added: "The Chancellor has also again attacked those on welfare – the sick, the unemployed and the disabled. From 2015 the Chancellor has announced that the Government spend on welfare will be capped and set in cash terms – not related to changes in inflationary rises.

"In addition there will be a tougher regime for job seekers, who will not be able to claim benefits for the first 7 days and who will have to visit the JobCentre every week to spend more time with advisors' – as if this will in some way magic a job for them – when on most recent figures there are at least twenty people chasing every job."

NIPSA said it will give the Spending Review "further consideration" and look at all the measures available to fight against an attack on public sector increments, "irrespective of whether such an attack is delivered from Westminster or Stormont."

(JP/CD)

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