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Child benefit freeze 'to cost families £400'

Freezing child benefit will cost families with two children more than £400 over the next few years, according to a new study.

The TUC said the Government's decision would lead to a real-terms cut in child benefit of £57.20 this year, £153.40 in 2012/13 and almost £200 during 2013/14.

Freezing the value of child benefit has already hit millions of families hard, and by 2014 many will be over £400 worse off.

By ploughing ahead with the introduction of a costly means-test, the Government is only making the problem worse - introducing confusion and uncertainty into a system that used to work well as a way to provide vital support to millions of families.

The best way to make the rich pay their share is through the tax system, but this Government has done the opposite by reducing taxes for the very wealthiest.

Cutting the value of benefits for children and introducing complicated new assessments means those in greatest need will get less, with the poorest children suffering the most.

– Trades Union Congress General secretary Brendan Barber

Trades Union Congress embraces Heseltine's economic review

Lord Heseltine's report into economic growth must be embraced across government, according to the Trades Union Congress (TUC).

The TUC has today backed the Heseltine review of regional growth in the UK but has warned that it needs to be backed across government in order to make a difference.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber. Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire/Press Association Images

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber, commenting on the report, said: “Lord Heseltine’s Review offers a refreshing new strategy for growth. But it must be embraced across government if it’s to make a difference.

“By stressing the interdependence of public and private sectors, the review shows that the approach that delivered the London Olympics could create success stories across the country."

He added: “We fully back greater investment in science and research, as well as smarter use of procurement to boost British industry, which are both long standing calls of the TUC."


Union boss to attack Government for 'broken promises'

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

The TUC general secretary Brendan Barber is to accuse the Government of "broken promises" when he addresses a major rally in London later today.

He will say: "Ministers told us that if we only accept the pain, recovery would come. Instead we have been mired in a double dip recession.

"They told us if we only accepted the cuts, our deficit would come down. Instead our borrowing is going through the roof.

"The biggest lie of them all was the cynical double talk that we are all in this together. The grim reality has been tax cuts for the richest with wage and benefit cuts for the poorest."

Unions to call for banking shake-up at annual conference

Union leaders are to call for a major shake-up of the banking sector to tackle concerns over lending, executive pay and the UK's slow recovery from recession.

The TUC will press for a series of changes at its annual congress next week, including a state investment bank, greater diversity in the banking system and a crackdown on bonuses.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber. Credit: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The union organisation will also press the case for worker representation on company remuneration committees.

The TUC General Council will issue a statement at the Brighton conference, which begins on Sunday, saying that the Government's Green Investment Bank should be made into a "proper bank", with the ability to raise its own funds.

TUC boss Brendan Barber to retire this year

Brendan Barber will retire this year. Credit: REUTERS/Phil Noble

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber is to retire later this year, he announced today.

He has been in the role since June 2003.

He said: "I have decided that this is the right time to make a change in my life. I have been enormously privileged to work at the TUC since 1975, and the end of the year will mark the 10-year point since my election as general secretary.

"The TUC has always been a powerful voice for the millions of ordinary people who depend on trade unions to better their lives and there is so much of our work over the years in which I take great pride. But I have every confidence that under new leadership the TUC can go from strength to strength."