Walking in a union fantasyland

September 14, 2010 12:03 PM

Yesterday the TUC annual meeting kicked off in Manchester and the trade unions are doing their best to argue that spending cuts will destroy Britain. Or as TUC chief Brendan Barber said big cuts would make Britain a "dark, brutish and more frightening place".

It’s about time the unions took a step back, a deep breath and put these spending cuts into context. The level of cuts laid out in the emergency budget will mean that by 2014-15, spending, as a percentage of GDP, will be at the same level as it was in 2006/07 (these figures are taken directly from the emergency budget). Now, most people will remember what it was like in 2006-07 and no one will recall Britain being a Hobbesian state of nature in which people’s lives were "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short".

Nevertheless the trade unions continue to live in a fantasyland arguing that spending cuts are unnecessary because the UK’s debt is lower than other major economies. Really? Not according to the recent release from Eurostat which shows that we had the highest deficit of any country in Europe not already taking sharp measures to cut spending (Ireland) or being bailed out by the IMF and other European countries (Greece).


Eurostat
What the unions are set on however is a programme of strikes, which are apparently “unavoidable” if the government follow through on spending cuts. There must be something in the water in the conference hall in Manchester to make delegates think that spending cuts pose the greatest threat to public services. The reality is strikes organised by unions who have lost sight of reality are the greatest threat to services and will cause massive disruption to taxpayers.

Yesterday the TUC annual meeting kicked off in Manchester and the trade unions are doing their best to argue that spending cuts will destroy Britain. Or as TUC chief Brendan Barber said big cuts would make Britain a "dark, brutish and more frightening place".

It’s about time the unions took a step back, a deep breath and put these spending cuts into context. The level of cuts laid out in the emergency budget will mean that by 2014-15, spending, as a percentage of GDP, will be at the same level as it was in 2006/07 (these figures are taken directly from the emergency budget). Now, most people will remember what it was like in 2006-07 and no one will recall Britain being a Hobbesian state of nature in which people’s lives were "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short".

Nevertheless the trade unions continue to live in a fantasyland arguing that spending cuts are unnecessary because the UK’s debt is lower than other major economies. Really? Not according to the recent release from Eurostat which shows that we had the highest deficit of any country in Europe not already taking sharp measures to cut spending (Ireland) or being bailed out by the IMF and other European countries (Greece).


Eurostat
What the unions are set on however is a programme of strikes, which are apparently “unavoidable” if the government follow through on spending cuts. There must be something in the water in the conference hall in Manchester to make delegates think that spending cuts pose the greatest threat to public services. The reality is strikes organised by unions who have lost sight of reality are the greatest threat to services and will cause massive disruption to taxpayers.

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