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Union leaders representing millions of frontline workers across the UK have demanded Jeremy Hunt give vital extra cash for public services in the Budget this week, to address ‘chronic underfunding’ and ‘crumbling’ public services. 

General Secretaries of 18 trade unions have written to the Chancellor warning that extra public funding must be provided in the Spring Budget, warning the current situation is “simply unsustainable”.

Those who signed the letter include TUC leader Paul Nowak, Sharon Graham of Unite the Union, Gary Smith of GMB union, Daniel Kebede of the NEU, Matt Wrack of the FBU and Christina McAnea of Unison. 

Ahead of the Spring Budget announcement on Wednesday, the union leaders appealing to Jeremy Hunt by stressing that the country simply “cannot afford not to invest in its public services” and, “prioritising politically-driven tax cuts while decimating services is the wrong choice”.

Representing a wide range of public servants, they warned “everywhere is in crisis” highlighting soaring waiting lists, struggling councils, court backlogs and prison overcrowding. 

According to the trade unionists, the heart of the problem lies in a significant absence of resources and an intensifying recruitment and retention crisis, holding back sustainable growth.

The letter highlighted how every month frontline workers are “quitting in their droves”, due to burn out, feeling downtrodden and undervalued, while lack of access to crucial services has left the population “sicker”.  

 “This is simply unsustainable,” the letter stated. “Crumbling public services are having a devastating impact on the country and the economy. 

“People’s inability to access crucial services is making the population sicker and forcing many to miss days at work or leave the labour market entirely. This is why it’s vital that you provide extra funding for our public services in the Budget.”

Paul Nowak, TUC leader, responded on X: “Can you name one public service that’s better now than it was 14 years ago? Schools? Hospitals? Local council services? Support for the unemployed? Anything?”

Yesterday a poll revealed that Jeremy Hunt’s own constituents want him to prioritise investment in public services and fund the NHS, rather than cut taxes which he is expected to do.

One of the signatures, Dave Penman, general secretary of the FDA union representing civil servants, blasted the government for providing “soundbite, not strategy”.

“Doing more for less is a soundbite, not a strategy,” said Penman. “The Chancellor needs to be honest with the public about the choices we face, which is why, together with the TUC and 17 other unions, I’ve signed this letter calling for investment in our public services.”

While the national chair of the POA union representing prison workers commented that there was “nothing left to cut in the Prison Service”. 

“If you cut our budgets any further an already strangled and struggling to cope public service will totally collapse.”

(Photo credit: HM Treasury)

Hannah Davenport is news reporter at Left Foot Forward, focusing on trade unions and environmental issues

The post Union leaders demand Jeremy Hunt give ‘vital’ extra cash to public services in Budget appeared first on Left Foot Forward: Leading the UK’s progressive debate.

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