TUC calls for £25bn funding boost to strengthen services and protect growth

By agency reporter
March 11, 2019

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has published a report outlining the challenges the UK faces from the government's mishandling of Brexit, the damage from austerity and the global economic slowdown.

The TUC is calling for an urgent £25 billion package to protect growth and strengthen public services.

Included in the report is new TUC analysis revealing the extent to which austerity has held back the economy since the financial crisis, resulting in a slower recovery than from all recessions in the 20th century.

The TUC says the UK economy faces immediate risks that require urgent action before the autumn Budget. Global growth is slowing down, with international trade disputes damaging business confidence and volatility in financial markets, which could further reduce private sector investment.

The government's mishandling of Brexit is causing chaos. The prime minister's failure to deliver a workable deal and her refusal to rule out no deal, is harming confidence in the economy. Companies, including major manufacturing employers, are cutting investment and planning to move operations and jobs out of the UK. 

Austerity is compounding current risks, says the TUC. UK public services have been cut to the bone. Even after the Prime Minster claiming the "end of austerity", spending on public services in five years time will still be £500 lower per person than in 2009/10.

In its report, which further details the risks Britain faces, the impacts of austerity, and the action needed in the Spring Statement, the TUC calls for the Chancellor to:

  • Increase funding for public services by an additional £15 billion to provide material support to the economy and restore the health of vital public services. This will double the planned increase already set out in the Autumn Budget. As well as having direct benefits to communities damaged by austerity, it is a fast way to boost economic growth.
  • Increase capital spending by £10 billion to bring the UK towards the OECD average for infrastructure investment (3.5 per cent GDP). This should be targeted to those towns and communities which have been held back by austerity and years of under-investment.

The TUC General Secretary, Frances O'Grady, said: "Austerity didn't mend the holes in the roof, it tore it down. And it's left Britain in a far worse state to survive the challenges ahead.

"With the global economy slowing down and the Prime Minister's mishandling of Brexit causing chaos, we cannot afford to delay the rebuilding that Britain needs. 

"Positive action is needed from the government to direct funds to the public services people depend on and rescue them from breaking point. And every part of Britain must get investment in the modern infrastructure needed for growth."

* Read Action to protect the economy and public services here

* Trades Union Congress https://www.tuc.org.uk/


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