#Lab14 Yesterday’s pro-austerity mantra of Ed Balls about ‘balancing the books’, ‘difficult decisions’ and ‘tough fiscal rules’ should send a shiver down the spine of every UNISON member. As Nobel Prize winning Economist Joseph Stiglitz said in the FT last week ‘the single most important policy is to improve the macroeconomic policy through a well designed fiscal stimulus’. Deflationary policies of austerity are the cause of wage stagnation.
Dave Prentis was right to point out in his Conference speech yesterday that working people have been ‘betrayed by privatisation, betrayed by the very people who crashed our economy’ and have suffered a five-year pay freeze while their pay has fallen in value by over one fifth’. But the economic prospectus set out by Balls can only lead to more of the same – continuing austerity means a continuing pay freeze and capping of benefits as well as further cuts in funding of public services. Unions working flat out for the return of a Labour government next May must challenge the Balls economic narrative otherwise we will be sleepwalking into a future of permanent austerity.