Stern TUC warning over proposed spending cuts

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Spending cuts will weaken the economy, lead to hundreds of thousands of job losses and hit public services, the Government was warned today.

The TUC said a harsh round of spending cuts will harm the economy, causing tax receipts to fall and the benefits bill to rise.

The economic deficit would also get worse, said a TUC report, All Pain, No Gain: The Case Against Cuts.

The study examined economies that made severe spending cuts in the past - Britain in the 1980s, Canada in the 1990s and more recently Ireland - and found that the end result for the UK in 2010 will be "damaged public services, rising unemployment and increased suffering for the most vulnerable".

The TUC report urged the Government to work for an international growth package, raise taxes for those most able to pay, and abandon the cuts timetable which demands that the deficit be halved by 2014.

General Secretary Brendan Barber said: "The huge spending cuts planned by the Government risk imposing a great deal of pain on the British people - especially for those at the bottom - and for absolutely no gain.

"Cuts are the worst way to plug the hole in the public finances. They have not worked in Ireland and did not work in 1980s Britain.

"The speed and severity of UK cuts is more likely to spook the markets than please them as a double-dip recession looms and Europe embraces the self-harm of deficit fetishism. Business confidence, order books and consumer demand is all very brittle.

"The cuts programme increasingly looks less like economics and more like a political project to restructure the state and roll back support for not just the poor and vulnerable but the services on which middle-income Britain depends."