‘Drop commitment to Trident and save £205bn’ – McDonnell urged!

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THE Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) yesterday supported the call by Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell for ‘an emergency Budget for our public services’.

The PCS said: ‘This comes after almost 99% of the union’s public sector members in a ballot result last week indicated they want to see the public sector pay cap end and investment in public services. 79% expressed willingness to take strike action if the government refuse.

‘This week has seen the IPPR report – Uncapped Potential – set out the economic case against the cap, and the exposure through the Paradise Papers of widespread legal tax avoidance by the richest and most powerful, proving that if the government prioritised tax justice they could find the extra money easily.’

Kate Hudson, CND General Secretary, said: ‘Investment in public services is vitally necessary – so it’s time for Labour to prioritise that and drop its commitment to wasting £205 billion of public money on Trident.

‘Investment in public services is about creating a decent society for all – a well-educated and healthy populace, with real security issues addressed. Wasting £205 billion on a Cold War relic is completely incompatible with that approach.

‘The Labour Party is putting forward a real alternative vision of how to run the economy to address inequality and serve the needs of the whole community. But on Trident it lines up with the government and accepts the status quo.

‘Every billion committed to Trident is a billion that could be spent on schools and hospitals, or on defence diversification for hi-tech jobs that address the 21st century threats we face like climate change and terrorism. Britain needs a government with a new vision and a new set of spending priorities that meet people’s needs. They cannot include Trident.’

Mark Serwotka, PCS General Secretary, commented: ‘The emergency Budget for public services is necessary because of the daily chaos of Theresa May’s government in crisis. Inflation has now risen to 3% CPI. Public sector workers are already thousands of pounds worse off because of pay policy.

‘What public sector workers need is for the pay cap to be scrapped now, for above inflation pay rises to be agreed and the chancellor to guarantee the money for this in the budget. Scrapping the cap without increasing the funding to pay for it is a Tory trick that we won’t fall for.’

McDonnell laid out his proposals in a speech at Church House in Westminster, where he outlined five proposals:

• Pause the roll-out of Universal Credit to fix delays in benefits payments.

• Fund public sector pay rises.

• Put more money into infrastructure such as road and rail projects.

• Increase funding for health, education, and local government.

• Launch a large-scale house-building programme.