5 February 2011
Voiceover: We are told there is a deficit crisis in this country. We are told the solution is to cut billions from public spending. Devastating vital services and cutting over a million private and public sector jobs.
Mark Serwotka: Well our public services and our public sector workers are under attack like they have never been before. Loyal public servants, many of whom have given decades of service to the people of this country, face losing their jobs, face having their pay cut and having their pensions cut.
Ruth Tanner: the financial crisis has led to, really, the poorest in the world suffering the most. That’s in developing countries, that’s in the UK, that’s everywhere.
Voiceover: the cuts are not fair, hitting the young, poor and vulnerable. In December 2010 as thousands of students took to the streets the to campaign against huge rises in fees, the official UK unemployment figure stood at 2.5 million. Of those, 951,000 were aged between 16-24.
The final bill for the bankers bail out was £850 billion. And as the banks issue another round of huge bonuses, estimated at £7 billion, the government claims there is no other way to tackle the deficit. But what they are not telling you is, there is another way.
Chant: Pay your tax. Pay your tax.
Speaker: the people have shut down Vodaphone, because £1.2bn is owed by Topshop, to the British people. Like you, like you, like this policeman here.
Chant: If you want to sell your clothes, if you want to sell your clothes, if you want to sell your clothes pay your tax.
Nicolas: Phillip Green owes £300 million because the company is not registered in his name, it is registered in his wife’s name, and she lives in Monaco, and doesn’t pay a penny of income tax. In 2005 he awarded himself, I think it was a £1.3 billion pay cheque. The biggest pay cheque ever, and he owes us £300 million of tax on that.
Voiceover: in August 2010 David Cameron appointed Sit Phillip Green as an advisor on cutting public spending. His total tax dodger loan - £285 million to be exact, could cover the increased £9,000 tuition fees of 32,000 students, or the salaries of 20,000 NHS nurses.
Ruth Tanner: We’ve got £120 billion being lost to the British economy and this is something that the government could be doing something about.
Chant: No ifs, no buts, no public sector cuts.
Gwenda Binks: Since I suppose, 2005, 2006, we’ve been losing staff, about 25-35,000 staff in the revenue and customs, and indeed it is planned that we will lose more in the next few years.
Mark Serwotka: Behind me now is one of the casualties of the cuts. Here’s a tax office where 100 people worked, many of them for years and years, providing real services. Some of them now are out of work.
Lewis Bevan: When the office closed and most of those staff took voluntary redundancy, all that experience was lost, and HMRC is now desperate for experienced people. Kettering is just one of 120-odd offices across the UK that were closed, so the total lost of experienced staff, runs into thousands and thousands.
Mark Serwotka: there is an alternative. If we collect the taxes that are due, £120 billion of them, avoided, evaded or uncollected, then we can have the money to build decent public services. More schools, more hospitals, more teachers.
Ruth Tanner: this is money that can be used for public services, for the welfare state, to help the poorest and most vulnerable. Instead what we are seeing is massive banker’s bonuses, a continuation of business as usual, and the government not doing anything about this clear injustice.
Neil Stoppard: this country is in a lot of trouble actually; let’s make no bones about that. They are cutting the very people who can get the money into the Treasury to fix the problems and save us from these cuts.
Karen Slough: Staff worked here for 15 years at this office, and it closed last year. I finished at the end of March and I was unemployed for three months and I’ve now got a job at the local hospital, for the NHS. But I am actually doing two jobs, a morning job and an evening job, so I am doing about 43 hours a week, for a lot less money. I’m just above the minimum wage.
Mark Serwotka: So all of these cuts are completely unnecessary, and we are trying to build a campaign to say there is an alternative. And that campaign depends on people getting involved. And we are hoping that people will get involved in local community campaigns, attend their meetings, get involved in a variety of different things, but particularly attend the TUC march and demonstration in London on the 26th March. If we can make that one of the biggest demonstrations this country has ever seen, we can force the government to think again.