21 October 2010
The Green Party’s Tom Harris has called George Osborne’s comprehensive spending review a “disaster for jobs” and has again argued that the cuts could have been avoided by the introduction of a fairer tax system.
“Around 24% of people in the West Midlands work in the public sector and now around 100,000 of their jobs could go. The knock-on effects will mean at least as many jobs also being lost in the private sector. The government’s own figures admit this is a disaster for jobs.”
“At 40%, my home town of Stafford has the highest level of public sector employment in the region, but these cuts mean councils will have nearly a third less money to spend in 2015 than they do today. For thousands who work in the area and many youngsters still in education, this will ruin their lives for years to come, because enough new jobs simply won’t be created quickly enough.
“We need a fair tax regime”
“The chancellor singled out benefit cheats for attack, but has done nothing about tax cheats? The official figures show that benefit fraud costs around £1 billion a year, but tax evasion costs the country £15 billion every year.
“These cuts will hit the poorest ten percent the hardest. Decent, honest people who are already struggling to make ends meet will lose benefits, essential services and even their homes.
"If the government restored the top tax rate to the 60 per cent level that we had even under Margaret Thatcher, rather than the 40 per cent it is now, this alone would raise £19 billion a year. Instead of devastating cuts we need a fair tax regime.”
Mr Harris concluded: “This Conservative-LibDem coalition government is undermining the economy while hitting the most vulnerable – and all, incredibly, under the banner of fairness.”