Updated: Wednesday, 18th September 2019 @ 2:33pm

'Poverty is rising': TUC to stage Manchester protest during Tory Party Conference

'Poverty is rising': TUC to stage Manchester protest during Tory Party Conference

| By Tommy Wilson

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) will stage a national demonstration in Manchester this autumn against the government’s austerity agenda and attacks on trade unions.

The protest is set to take place on Sunday October 4 and will begin with a march through the city centre, culminating in a rally close to the Conservative Party Conference.

Workers and community organisations from across the country will join the demonstration, which will be the first the TUC has organised since the Conservative government came to power.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “This October’s march and rally will allow thousands of ordinary people to show the government exactly what they think of their policies.

“The Conservatives’ planned attack on trade unions and extreme cuts are an assault on working people at a time when they should be focused on securing the UK’s fragile recovery and creating better jobs to boost productivity.”

Mrs O'Grady also commented on the latest Household Below Average Income data published last week by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which revealed that absolute poverty rates for adults and children are still above their pre-recession level.

“Despite the headline employment rate returning to its pre-recession level, absolute poverty rates are still higher," she said.

"Our economy is not creating enough good quality jobs to achieve the larger falls in poverty we need to give every worker a decent life and every child a decent future.

“The extreme cuts to tax credits the government is planning for working families will do nothing to raise wages and will leave low-paid families even worse off. There’s a big danger this will start poverty rates rising again.”

Commenting on the publication of figures showing government borrowing of £16.4 billion in the financial year to date, Mrs O'Grady lambasted Tory Chancelllor George Osborne.

“Instead of borrowing for investment, this year the Chancellor is likely to borrow three and a half times more than expected to bail out his failed economic plan – that’s £75bn instead of £20bn.

“Even though this week brought better news on pay packets, after the longest recorded squeeze on living standards, income tax revenues and national insurance receipts are still way down on expectations.

“With interest rates on government borrowing at rock bottom, this is the perfect opportunity for the Chancellor to invest in skills, infrastructure and much-needed affordable housing.

“But rather than learning from his mistakes, the Chancellor is about to embark upon a fresh round of savage cuts. We need a better plan for sustainable high-productivity growth that will deliver the quality jobs and decent services working people need.”

Further details on the march route, speakers and timings will be published in the coming weeks.

Image courtesy of Charles Hutchins via FlickR, with thanks.