There should be no premature rejoicing about the slight rise in GDP figures, as there are still too many negative factors affecting the British economy, Unite, the largest union in the country, said today (Thursday 25 July).
Unite said that the 0.6 per cent growth in the second quarter GDP figures meant that output was still lagging 3.3 per cent behind the pre-recession peak, particularly in the manufacturing and construction sectors.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “There should be no smugness or premature rejoicing from George Osborne about this small, but welcome, increase in GDP figures, as there are too many other negative factors swirling about in this flatlining economy.
“Construction and manufacturing – key sectors for generating employment - are still lagging way behind their pre-recession peaks.
“The Engineering Employers Federation is reported as saying that it is unrealistic to think the country is ‘out of the mire’. Unite agrees with this analysis.
“Demand to kick start the economy is still lacking, as wages are being outstripped by inflation – people’s incomes are shrinking in real terms because of the government’s austerity measures and so-called welfare reforms.
“One measure that could create extra demand is the immediate increase of £1.50 an hour in the national minimum wage. This would put money into wallets and purses; keep people out of the clutches of loan sharks; and save the state billions in welfare and wage top ups.
“What is also needed is a massive house building programme; a tough crack down on tax avoidance and evasion; and coherent policies to boost manufacturing and construction, as well as job creation.”
For further information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.