Voters 'expect cost crisis to last'


empty wallet

Only one in 50 voters believes they are benefiting from the economic recovery and most expect the "living standards crisis" to continue in the new year, a new study has found.

Research among 1,600 adults for the TUC showed that more than half wanted services that had been cut to be restored, although almost a third wanted them retained.

One in five of those polled said they expected the gains of an economic recovery to be fairly shared across society.

In her new year message, TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "Our new poll is bad news for the Government. Voters do not expect to benefit from the recovery next year, do not expect their wages to keep up with living costs and do not trust the Government to spread the benefits of recovery fairly.

"Above all they do not share the Chancellor's ambition to permanently shrink the state. By more than two to one they want to see services restored when the economy grows, not permanently cut.

"Voters accepted austerity as unpleasant medicine. But now they are realising that what they thought were the unpleasant side effects are what the Chancellor sees as a cure. Recovery seems to mean food banks, zero hours and pay cuts for the many, tax cuts and pay growth for the few at the top."

Ms O'Grady said 2014 will be a crucial year, dominated by a single political question - "whose growth?"

She added: "Do we want to go back to a business as usual version of the pre-crash economy, based on housing bubbles, an overmighty finance sector and increasing inequality as a growing proportion of the workforce fail to share in prosperity?

"Or do we want to build a new, genuinely rebalanced economy that through investment, growth and active government aims for a high-skill, high-pay, high-productivity economy that shares out prosperity to all? I know which side unions are on."