BRITAIN’S economy has suffered a “notable slowdown,” recording its weakest six months of growth for five years.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed the economy grew by just 0.3 per cent from April to June, even lower than the government’s limited expectations.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey judged that Tory claims to economic competency were “truly in tatters now.”
And shadow chancellor John McDonnell said that it was clear that only the Labour government-in-waiting had a plan to invest and grow the economy.
The slowdown most affected the construction and manufacturing industry, with output falling by 0.9 per cent and 0.5 per cent respectively for the period.
There were signs of a lift in the services industry with distribution, hotels and restaurants growing by 1.1 per cent in the second quarter.
But TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady warned that the “signs of strain are starting to show,” with falling wages and rising family debt.
She urged the Tories to “step up to the plate” with a plan to boost investment, starting by scrapping the public-sector pay cap and increasing the minimum wage to £10 per hour.
Mr McCluskey urged the government to “change gear” and increase wages for workers who he described as “the motor of the economy.”
He said: “Conservative claims to be the party of economic competency are laughable now. Their credibility is in tatters as the economy shrinks.”
Mr McDonnell said the figures revealed “weak growth under a weak government,” exposing seven years of Tory economic failure.
He added: “The truth is that the Tories’ austerity cuts have undermined working people’s living standards and weakened the UK economy.
“Only a Labour government has a strategic plan of investment to boost growth … which will help build a high-wage, high-skill economy that works for the many, not the few.”