Top trade union official accuses UK government of ‘Thatcherism on steroids’

Scotland’s top trade union official has accused the UK Government of deploying ‘Thatcherism on steroids’ after the pound plunged to a new low.

Margaret Irwin Centre opens
Margaret Irwin Centre opens

Scotland’s top trade union official has accused the UK Government of deploying “Thatcherism on steroids” after further economic turmoil resulted in the pound dropping to a historic low and mortgage lenders withdrawing some products for new borrowers on Monday.

The pound dropped to a record low of 1.03 dollars overnight on Sunday and has fluctuated throughout Monday, eventually sitting at 1.07 dollars.

Reacting to the news on BBC Scotland’s The Nine on Monday evening, Roz Foyer, general secretary of the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC), said the economic turmoil was a result of “casino capitalism” and “Thatcherism on steroids” from the UK Government.

“This is the result of an utterly reckless budget from a shameless government,” she said.

“People are going to really suffer because of the chances taken by this government.

“Only people who earn over £155,000 a year are going to benefit. When you’re redistributing wealth to the richest in our economy, the richest 1% in the middle of a humanitarian crisis, which is what we are facing this winter, you should be going in the opposite direction.”

“I think it’s no wonder that the pound has plummeted and the markets are asking ‘what on earth is going on?'”

She urged the Scottish Government to raise taxes on higher income earners.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the Scottish Government would take a “sensible approach” and said taking a similar approach would be “the wrong thing to do.”

Scotland’s Climate Week
Nicola Sturgeon said cutting taxes on the richest would be the ‘wrong thing to do’ (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Ms Foyer added: “If you even take, not the top tax payers, but the higher tax payers and reduce the threshold from £43,000 to £40,000, you would be creating an extra £690 million of revenue for this budget.

“If the Scottish Government try and replicate what the UK government has just done, it’s going to cost them about £400 million.

“They (the Scottish Government) are going to be the only thing standing between poorer people and devastating consequence.”

Ms Foyer argued that public sector workers should be given an “appropriate living wage” and the Scottish Government needed more revenue to fund this.

“It’s not pay that’s driven up inflation, it’s profit that’s done that, greed and excess among the richest people in our economy,” she added.

“The best way of getting our economy going again is getting money in people’s pockets, who will go and spend it in their local communities that need it most, that’s what will keep the small businesses in Scotland going.

“When you put money in workers’ pockets, they will spend that money and that will kickstart the economy.

“We’ve got a government that’s deploying Thatcherism on steroids.

“I think people have to come together and we have to get rid of this Tory government as quickly as possible. We need to tell the Scottish Government we want them on our side and doing every single thing they can within their powers to stand up for ordinary working people.”

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