Union leaders have warned they are willing to fight with the government over cuts after being invited to a meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron at Downing Street yesterday.

Fifteen bosses from the UK’s largest unions went to Ten Downing Street to discuss topics ranging from equality, banking policy, and pensions to the environmental agenda. But it was the coalition’s spending cuts that dominated, with the unions vowing to make the government’s life difficult throughout 2011.

Speaking after the meeting, TUC general secretary Brendan Barber bemoaned: “The UK is currently in the grips of a bleak midwinter. Today we warned the Prime Minister that next year promises to be even bleaker for millions of families and their communities as the spending cuts bite hard and hit jobs and services.

“We made clear to the Prime Minister our strong view that the spending cuts would both be socially divisive and economically dangerous.

“We urged him to do more to raise money from the banks as a sector that had done the most to take us into the current crisis and which had received enormous help from government.”

Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) added: “We’ll not be drawn into accepting cuts with the occasional promise of tea and a cosy chat in Downing Street… if this government will not agree to full and meaningful negotiations then these meetings and fine words are pointless, and simply invite industrial and legal action.”