A SENIOR Scottish trade union leader clashed with Reform UK leader Richard Tice during an appearance on Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg.

It came following Chief Secretary to the Treasury Laura Trott’s appearance on the programme, where she faced questions about the fact taxes are now at the highest level since the Second World War.

She told the host: “I am being straight. If you are on average income, because of the changes that we’ve made, your tax burden will have gone down quite significantly.

“We have been very open about that. If you are on some of the highest wage we have asked you to take more of the burden.

“That is a policy decision that we have taken but the overall direction now – we have turned a corner, we are going to bring taxes down but we’re going to do it in a non-inflationary way.”

Kuenssberg then returned to her panel, which featured Unison general secretary Christina McAnea.

She said it was “quite clear” that many would not be better off because “the overall tax burden has increased”.

“Quite frankly what happened last week [the Autumn Statement] was just a return to austerity mark two,” she said.

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“They’ve brought back [David] Cameron (below) and it seems to me they’ve brought back the policies that Cameron had.”

She said the Tories had never grasped the “fundamental principle” that “investing in public services helps you grow your economy”.

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“Without a flourishing public sector, you damage the private sector because people can’t go to work because there isn’t a decent health care service.

“You can’t go to work if you haven’t invested in schools. You need both to be working together.”

Tice then interrupted to say that public spending had increased and that “public services have never been worse”.

He said the public sector was “spending the money badly” to which McAnea replied: “That is not true” before asking if Tice would give her the opportunity to speak and explain that demand on public services has increased.


Kuenssberg then put it to Tice that the economy would halt were it not for mass migration. Tice disagreed.

“What the OBR has said is that mass immigration means per head incomes are down by record numbers and this is a complete betrayal,” he said.

Tice said Brexit was about “taking control of our borders” and that the next Westminster vote would be an “immigration election”.

Asked if she agreed, McAnea replied that people “like Richard” who campaigned for Brexit had “completely lied to the British public”.

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Tice interrupted again to say he wasn’t running the UK Government, to which she said: “I know you’re not. I didn’t say you were. I said people like you who sold Brexit to the British public on totally false premises that they would somehow magically be able to take back control of our borders.

“When in actual fact if you look at what’s happened, more people are going back to the EU than coming here and actually immigration is now coming from all parts of the world.”

Culture War

Tice added that "millions of people" were furious about immigration, saying it was making the UK "poorer culturally".

He added that he would liked the idea of "president [Nigel] Farage and president [Donald] Trump," saying it would "wind people up".

McAnea replied: "When I hear people saying things like it will effect our country 'culturally' and I've heard you say this before, I've heard Farage say it as well. 

"I don't even know what that means. We are a country where people come from all over the world. I'm the grandchild of migrants from Ireland. My culture is probably very different from yours. 

"It's an appalling way to turn things into a culture war in this country."

She was then seen laughing when Tice said British culture was about "who we are, our heritage, our history, our Christian values and ethos, that is the base of our single British culture and that's what we want people to unify under".

McAnea said it was like "harking back to the 1940s or 1950s".