JOHN MCDONNELL urged the government to “change direction” yesterday after new economic figures confirmed that people are suffering due to years of Tory failure.
The shadow chancellor said that his Tory opposite number Philip Hammond was putting “working people’s living standards at risk,” with growth lower than expected and wages set to fall behind prices.
Government figures indicated unexpected economic growth in the last quarter with a 0.4 per cent increase in GDP from July to September.
However, it is struggling to bounce back to levels seen in the final quarter of 2016, when GDP rose by 0.7 per cent.
And the construction industry — a key yardstick for the economy as a whole — is now said to be “in recession.”
Research by pay analysts Xpert HR revealed that private-sector bosses plan to maintain their squeeze on wages in the next year, with below-inflation pay rises in store for workers.
Xpert HR surveyed 275 companies and found that 75 per cent are likely to keep awards at the same level as this year — 2 per cent, compared to inflation of 3.9 per cent.
Most public-sector pay increases are expected to stay at 1 per cent.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “The latest GDP figure underlines the continuing fragility of the UK economy. Wages are stagnating and currently running behind inflation, and living standards continue to take a hit.
“With survey after survey revealing the UK economy to be running behind those of our competitors, working people will ask again what planet is this government on when it proclaims that our economy is strong.
“It is high time these economic emperors understood that they are wearing no clothes.”
He backed Mr McDonnell’s call for the government to “reboot the British economy” with next month’s Budget and demanded a coherent investment and industrial strategy that includes scrapping the public-sector pay cap and a “desperately needed” house-building programme.
The shadow chancellor said that the GDP figures “further confirm the impact that seven wasted years of Tory economic policy has had on working households.
“Economic growth for the majority of 2017 has been below what was expected. In recent weeks, leading independent forecasters have slashed growth for next year, and the latest economic data shows wages are still set to fall behind prices — squeezing living standards further.”
He said Britain was not growing as fast as the rest of the European Union or the United States and urged the government to change direction at next month’s Budget.
“The Chancellor cannot keep hiding from the facts, as his approach of carrying on as usual is seriously putting working people’s living standards at risk,” Mr McDonnell insisted.