Cuts already hitting the vulnerable, warns TUC

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Indy Politics

Government spending cuts have already started to hit the unemployed, children and people suffering long-term illness, the TUC claimed today.

The union organisation said its "cutswatch" service had identified more than 30 specific areas affected by reductions in spending in recent weeks.

Projects scrapped, facing cuts or under threat ranged from inexpensive education programmes to large house-building budgets, said the TUC.

Programmes hit by cuts included one to support children with reading difficulties, plans for building school playgrounds, affordable housing, free prescriptions for everyone with a long-term health problem in England, free social care to older people and refurbishment of hundreds of schools across the UK, said the report.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "Politicians told us during the election campaign that cuts could be achieved through efficiency savings that would hardly be noticed, that the poor and vulnerable would be protected and that the front-line would be protected. Yet even this first round of cuts breaches these tests.

"Despite no doubt genuine efforts to look for painless cuts, ministers have failed at the first hurdle. Of course there are some savings that can be made, but the scale of the cuts promised means that there will be real suffering.

"Even if the Government insists on maintaining the same targets for the reducing the deficit - despite the dangers of a double-dip recession - they should put far more emphasis on raising money through tax, particularly from the super-rich who did so well from the boom years.

"The Government says that the coalition is built on the principle of fairness, but to deliver on this it must ensure that everyone - including the wealthy - pays their share in reducing the deficit."