TUC general secretary Brendan Barber
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber

George Osborne's pledge that his Budget "rewards working Britain" has failed to gain favour with unions.

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) and Unison union have dismissed the chancellor's Budget as supporting the rich over the working man.

Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, said: "The chancellor's Budget has given a helping hand to his rich friends in the city and delivered a slap in the face to the unemployed and low-paid families.

"Osborne should be delivering policies to get the 2.6 million unemployed people back into work and economically active. Instead the government's cuts agenda is making the situation worse by adding to those numbers month by month."

Prentis pointed to upcoming public sector pay freezes and claimed the government's proposals for local pay would "take money out of the pockets of hard working people".

Osborne's announcement of an increase in the personal allowance to £9,205 from April 2013 also met with a frosty response, since it "offers no relief for the unemployed", who have already been hit by cuts to tax credits.

"Osborne's Budget flies the Tories' true blue colours, but is a missed opportunity to restore desperately needed jobs and growth to the economy.

Brendan Barber, general secretary of the TUC, claimed the Budget was more suited to keeping the coalition together than keeping the country together.

"We needed a Budget that looked to the future and made jobs - particularly for young people, the national priority. Instead we have got a Budget for the rich by the rich," he said.

"One minute the chancellor said he found tax avoidance morally repugnant, the next he rewarded it by cutting income tax for the richest one per cent, with precious little relief for hard-pressed families on ordinary incomes.

"Treasury figures show that those on low and middle incomes will do worse than those higher up the income scale."

Osborne was keen to stress the importance of working Britain in his Budget, which he aimed to demonstrate by cutting corporation tax to 22 percent by 2014. A spokesperson for the Institute of Directors described this as a "bold move", but argued that it was still "not far enough fast enough".