Opinion Former Article

Opinion Former Comment: NUT - `There is an alternative`

Opinion Former Comment: NUT - `There is an alternative`
Opinion Former Comment: NUT - `There is an alternative`

It is absolutely essential that the Government rethinks their economic policy. Attacking the public sector and implementing swingeing cuts was never the right approach. As the economy flatlines and inflation increases it is clear that if the Government continues on its course there will be more pain and no gain for most people in the country.

At a time when youth unemployment is at 20%, slashing the Education Maintenance Allowance and tripling university fees, risks alienating a generation of young people and losing their talent at society's longer term cost.

The full impact of cuts to education services are yet to be realised but with cuts to local authority support services and libraries many schools are already struggling to afford vital resources such as those for special needs and ethnic minority pupils. To protect such resources schools are being forced to reduce budgets for non-core subjects such as music and language classes, building maintenance and ICT equipment.

There is an alternative. These economists are quite right to say that the Government should be tackling tax avoidance and evasion. In addition, introducing a small Robin Hood Tax on banks, hedge funds and other financial institutions would raise £20 billion a year at a stroke.

"The half a million attending the TUC's March for the Alternative in London a few months ago demonstrated the breadth and depth of support for an alternative to cuts, job losses and the break up of our public services. The Government would do well to acknowledge that their economic policy isn't working and that now is the time to invest in this country.

Christine Blower, General Secretary of the NUT, the largest teachers' union.

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