‘Smoke and mirrors’ budget will damage public services, FDA warns

Chancellor George Osborne’s Budget has been described as ‘smoke and mirrors’ that can only ‘further damage public services’ by Dave Penman, general secretary of the FDA.

Penman was heavily critical of the Chancellor’s change to the discount rate on public sector pensions, as he claims the move is ‘effectively removing a further £2 billion from public services and transferring it to the Treasury to give the illusion of a surplus’. He described this as a ‘political con trick’ and warned that it could do further damage to public services.

In his official response to the Budget, Penman claimed that the government has ‘consistently failed to explain to taxpayers and public servants how the resources it allocates to match the commitments it makes’ and suggested that the ‘smoke and mirrors’ of the pension contributions would not be enough to hide the fact that cuts to public services are far worse than the headline announcement makes out.

In addition to the FDA’s criticism, the Chancellor has also come under fire from Mike Clancy, general secretary of Prospect. Clancy echoed Penman’s sentiments, claiming that the changes to pension contributions is an attempt to hide ‘the true extent of the cuts he is imposing’.

Clancy described this as a ‘stealth measure’ and warned that ‘most of this money will not go towards paying for pensions; it will be paid to the Treasury instead’.