Austerity measures: TUC chief predicts 'horrible' year

A senior union leader predicts that 2011 is going to be a "horrible" year, with cuts in benefits and public services and an increase in unemployment.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said thousands of public sector workers faced redundancy, cuts in services caused by the Government's austerity measures would make a "real impact", and voluntary groups will have their funding cut.

In a New Year message yesterday, Mr Barber said: "It's hard to pick out the unkindest cut of all, but a top contender must be the 10 per cent cut in housing benefit that kicks in after someone has been unemployed for more than a year."

The TUC leader warned that the Government could also have a horrible year, predicting growing anger about increased student tuition fees and cutbacks in public sector projects such as new schools.

"What is becoming clear to people is just how unfair the coalition's policies are. Those who did least to cause the crash are being made to take the nastiest medicine with the worst side-effects.