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‘Cuts are not the cure’ says TUC in run-up to huge demo

The TUC is distributing thousands of pamphlets with the message that Cuts are not the cure in the run-up to the March for the Alternative – the London demonstration on Saturday 26 March – which is set to be the biggest TUC event for decades. Already hundreds of coaches have been booked and trains chartered from throughout the country for the event, which will see people assembling at Victoria Embankment from 11am and marching to Hyde Park for a rally in the afternoon.

The government’s decision to close the deficit in just four years and to do so by cutting four pounds in spending for every pound raised in tax are political choices not put to voters at the last election, rather than economic necessity says the pamphlet, Cuts are not the cure, which cites the arguments of three Nobel prize winners.

Carefully setting out the difference between the annual deficit and the national debt, the pamphlet explains in straightforward language that the UK’s debt is lower than in most years of the last century, lower than in many other countries and cheaper to service than in almost every year between the end of World War II and 1997. And unlike countries such as Greece or Ireland, the UK has no difficulty servicing its debt, it says.

The government is therefore wrong to say that there is no alternative, argues the pamphlet. The real job of closing the deficit will come from the increased tax raised by economic growth and getting people back to work. But this will require a longer timetable to close the deficit, as the deep rapid cuts imposed by the government will choke off economic recovery.

Cuts are not the cure says that spending cuts and last month’s VAT increase hit the poor and those on middle incomes while a fair tax regime that raises more money from the finance sector through a Robin Hood tax and cracks down on tax avoidance and evasion would be a fairer way of tightening belts.

The pamphlet is being published as one part of the TUC’s plans to mobilise a huge turn-out for the March for the Alternative on 26 March. The TUC is currently recruiting and training large numbers of stewards to ensure that both the march and rally are safe, well-managed and family-friendly.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:

As the cuts begin to bite the government has completely lost the argument that its cuts are fair. With the economy plunging back into negative growth, it is clear that the government’s economic gamble has failed. More and more people are therefore looking at arguments for an alternative and for ways of showing their opposition to the coalition’s deep, rapid cuts. It’s clear that the TUC’s march has captured the mood of the country and looks set to be the biggest event in our recent history.”

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