Public sector wage freezes will hit Worcester

Steve Lloyd Steve Lloyd expects public sector wage freezes will mean fewer customers

The World Tonight's Paul Moss headed to Worcester, a constituency that had voted Labour since 1997 but switched to Conservative at the election, to find out how people thought the changes to the welfare system announced in the Budget could affect them.

Steve Lloyd, owner The Glass House Restaurant

"Worcester is a big university town, there's a huge hospital, lots of nurses, lots of doctors, all wanting to spend their money.

"If they're getting job cuts, wage freezes, they're all going to start worrying about it. And I think that effect on us could be significant.

"They won't be out spending their money with us. They'll be staying at home. We have to take a hit at some point - previous governments and the banks have messed things up for us all.

"But at the same time, I want people to walk through my door and spend money in my restaurant. If they haven't got the money in their pocket, how are they going to do that?"

Roy Blanchard, 83, retired

"They've got to raise money from something, and it strikes me that VAT is a reasonable way of doing it.

Roy Blanchard Mr Blanchard says his "average life" should not be affected

"It'll only discourage people from buying refrigerators, multi-thousand pound televisions.

"It might put them off a little. But I think that for the average life - our life - I don't think it'll affect us too much.

"All it will do is persuade people not to buy more expensive items; they'll buy slightly cheaper items. I don't think it'll be too bad, once they get used to the idea."

Steve, 39, unemployed

"I want to work. You know I've been unemployed for over six years now.

Steve Steve is learning computer skills at Worcester College Technology

"I see friends go out to restaurants, and I think I'd like to go with them. And I look at the bank balance and I can't.

"The idea that we're all kicking back, take the £65 a week, and live the good life! It isn't a good life.

"There aren't enough jobs out there for people, and all of us are chasing fewer and fewer jobs."

Phil, 44, unemployed

"I've worked for 20-odd years.

Phil Phil, who lost his job after an accident, is also retraining

"Found myself on benefits through an accident, which wasn't my fault. It is a struggle.

"The cost of living is continually going up. VAT is going up, and we're just having to live on the breadline.

"'We're all in it together!' Can you see them living the living standard that I've got to live?

"I'd like to see some of those politicians trying to live on £65 a week - not for a TV programme, but for six or 12 months. Do it! Show us that you're in it with us!"

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The Budget, June 2010

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