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Government accused of 'doublethink' on spending cuts

Government spending cuts will hit the poorest 13 times harder than rich people, showing how "unfair" they were, the TUC warned today.

A study for the union organisation showed the bottom 10% of earners will suffer reductions in services equivalent to 20% of their household income.

In contrast, the richest 10% will lose the equivalent of just 1.5% from cuts being planned for the next few years, it was claimed.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "Coalition ministers say their policies are progressive. They have promised that they will protect the vulnerable, not increase inequality and will not open up a new North/South divide.

"Yet today's figures show exactly the opposite. This is classic doublethink. They might say progressive, but these cuts will make the poll tax look as if it was dreamed up by Robin Hood.

"Each day it becomes clearer that there are alternative ways to drive down the deficit and that these deep cuts not only threaten services, but risk economic recovery.

"The only conclusion is that the Government is making a political choice, not following economic necessity. But voters last May did not vote for a radical and permanent cutback in the scale and scope of public services.

"The poll tax was defeated when the decent majority said that it offended the deep sense of fairness that we share in this country across party divides. The cuts have only just started to bite. When their full extent becomes clear, I know the country will join with us in saying no to policies of such eye-wateringly unfairness."

Mr Barber, speaking ahead of the TUC Congress in Manchester, which opens tomorrow, said there will be "difficult disputes" ahead as unions defend jobs and services, but he added that no one was seriously talking about a general strike.