Poorest regions 'hit worst by cuts'

Brendan BarberThe poorest families are being hit hardest by the Government's austerity measures, with an average loss of £390 per person in some areas of the country because of spending cuts, according to a new study.

The TUC said Yorkshire and the Humber had been hit by the sharpest public expenditure cuts of any English region during the first year of the coalition.
Spending across the region fell by 4.4%, compared with a national average of 3.8%, said the TUC, which looked at the effects of reduced regional development agency spending, scrapping the future jobs fund and the building schools for the future programme.

The union organisation said it was worried the Government's austerity plans were being felt far more in different parts of the country, warning that regional economies were suffering.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "The Government said its initial spending cuts would root out inefficiencies and barely be noticed, but the reality is that cancelling school rebuilding projects and job support for young people has had a real impact on people's lives across the country.

"Not only are the poorest families being hit hardest by the Government's faltering austerity plan, the cuts are not being spread evenly across the country. Areas of high public sector employment are particularly vulnerable to higher joblessness and reduced consumer demand, which in turn is stifling the private sector.

"For all the talk of economic rebalancing, all we are seeing is a growing north-south divide, with City-led growth down south while other regions are struggling. It's time ministers finally accepted the mounting evidence that deep, rapid spending cuts are not working and went for an economic plan B that prioritises growth."

A separate report by recruitment firm Badenoch & Clark said the worst effects of the spending cuts were still to come. A survey of 1,000 public sector workers showed that almost two fifths said morale had noticeably dropped following job losses.

Nicola Linkleter, managing director at Badenoch & Clark, said: "Last October's comprehensive spending review created a lot of uncertainty for employees in the public sector and our research today suggests that this sense of insecurity persists. We still haven't seen the full extent of the headline spending cuts ripple out into the public sector workforce.

"As a consequence, many employees are left feeling insecure about their future and in turn the research shows that morale and productivity are suffering. Likewise, where the effects of the cuts have been felt and job losses have been made, morale still remains the greatest casualty."

© 2011 Press Association
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