Cuts to be met by sustained industrial action

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PCS members outside the Treasury yesterday highlight the £120 billion in outstanding tax debts owed by big business
PCS members outside the Treasury yesterday highlight the £120 billion in outstanding tax debts owed by big business

A delegation of over 40 Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) members and officials lobbied the Treasury as Chancellor Osborne was making his budget speech in the House of Commons, outlining 25 per cent cuts in government departments.

They carried placards illustrating the over £120 billion in uncollected and dodged taxes by big business.

PCS national officer Peter Lockhart told News Line: ‘The point we are specifically trying to make today is there are alternatives to cuts.

‘We are proposing that the government invests in staff and resources in order to be able to collect the £123 billion which is owed in outstanding tax debt, taxes being avoided or evaded.

‘What is going to happen today is more cuts in the resources and staff that are needed to collect tax and build roads and hospitals.

‘We believe the real detail of the cuts will come in the Autumn in the Comprehensive Spending Review.

‘We will undoubtedly consider supplementing our lobbying and campaigning efforts with sustained industrial action.

‘This will be our union in alliance with all public sector unions and public sector workers.’

Southend Customs and Revenue PCS rep Fiona Staff added: ‘It’s disgusting these cuts.

‘The problems this country has are all down to big business and the banks, not ordinary people.

‘But it’s ordinary people that are going to suffer, particularly vulnerable people such as the elderly and disabled.

‘We have £120 billion of tax which isn’t collected because we don’t have enough staff and because of the tax loops that are allowed to continue.

‘If this government is not careful they could be looking at a general strike.’

One of the issues discussed at the lobby was the TUC’s invitation to prime minister Cameron to address this year’s TUC Congress.

PCS President Hugh Lanning was in favour of Cameron addressing the TUC.

He told News Line: ‘The new government is saying it wants to engage with trade unions.

‘We should take them at their word and test and challenge this to see if they genuinely want a dialogue with us.

‘They haven’t so far, even on the back of the court ruling on our redundancy compensation package.

‘In today’s Budget we will hear what they really think.’

But Fiona Staff insisted that ‘Cameron should not be part of the TUC Congress. We are going to be fighting his cuts.’