One Nation Labour must avoid Britain’s ‘lost decade’

7th February, 2013 3:30 pm

The Government was proclaiming recently that the economy was ‘healing’ given the recent improvement in unemployment figures and the fall in the number of JSA claimants.

David Cameron said ‘the good news would keep coming’ only to be swiftly poleaxed by Vince Cable who warned, “There is a real worry about [the possibility of a lost decade], a real risk of that.”

The recent indicators show Britain maybe heading for a Japanese style ‘lost decade,’ which was plagued by sluggish economic growth. Latest Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecasts have downgraded the UK’s economy. For 2013 the economy will grow by only 1.2% – down from the previous projection of 2%. The forecast for 2014 puts the UK’s growth at 2% from the previous projection of 2.7%

Even the unemployment figures are contradictory. The latest labour market statistics show the UK unemployment rate went down by 0.1 per cent from September to November compared to the previous three months. The data also shows unemployment falling by 37,000 for the same period and the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) dropping by 12,100. However, in areas of need and high deprivation such as Brent, the opposite is happening. From September to November there were 30,000 people out of work in the borough, which is an increase of 1% compared to the three months from June to August.

I recently hosted a discussion with Rachel Reeves and local businesses in Brent about how Britain can avoid its own ‘lost decade.’

A One-Nation Labour economy would include a plan for jobs and growth including a temporary VAT cut, a national insurance holiday for small firms taking on extra workers and investment in infrastructure and affordable housing. It will also showcase the long-term reforms needed to make the economy stronger, such as proper reforms to our banks to boost lending to small and medium sized businesses.

In Brent we are introducing a range of innovative initiatives to help the local economy such as the award winning Supply Chain Project, which matches construction and employment opportunities with local businesses and residents.

The Chancellor and his rather quiet Lib Dem sidekick Danny Alexander seem to be wedded to their ‘Plan A’ course of action despite the lack of growth and economic progress. GDP figures for the last quarter showed the economy dipped by 0.3%. Even some of the chancellor’s previous backers have urged him to change course. Jim O’Neill, chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, said, “The policy has been on the wrong path.”

The Government’s rapid pace of spending cuts is choking off any chances of an economic recovery. The drastic austerity measures have produced a flatlining economy that is on the verge of a triple-dip recession and is infested with higher borrowing and public debt.

Labour’s challenge will be to continue to keep employment as a priority. It will also need to stimulate the economy through increasing demand and getting households to spend again, but this time without the performance-enhancing drug of credit finance.

Latest

  • Comment Trade Union Action Week Uncategorized Unions Your right to legal representation must be protected

    Your right to legal representation must be protected

    If you are injured in an accident then the right to seek legal representation to support a claim for compensation is under threat. The age-old entitlement that compensation is fair to all, regardless of your wealth or position in society, is being challenged by proposed government changes. Most would find the right to redress an uncontroversial point of view – but the current government thinks differently. The very same Tory ministers who are making workers pay to bring a case to the Employment Tribunal, […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Trade Union Action Week Unions The vile union Bill takes us back to days of masters and servants

    The vile union Bill takes us back to days of masters and servants

    Working people and those who feel disenfranchised have traditionally been able to turn to Trade Unions for help, assistance and collective strength. Over the years, Trade Unions have used their collectivism to improve both terms and conditions and health and safety in the workplace. Indeed, one only has to study the history books to discover that by and large, wherever major, positive social changes and improved working conditions have occurred, you will more often than not find a connection to […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Trade Union Action Week Unions How the fight to save Somerset cider shows unions at work

    How the fight to save Somerset cider shows unions at work

    Cider-making is synonymous with the county of Somerset; it is weaved into the social fabric, the landscape and the rural communities. Yet, in this fast-moving, modern, global market place, iconic industries, such as cider-making, have no more protection than any other economic sector from forces which they have no control over, such as the slow-down in the Chinese economy. An example of this market trend came when it was announced that the Shepton Mallet Cider Mill would cease production at […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Trade Union Action Week Unions The Government are effectively creating state-sponsored blacklisting

    The Government are effectively creating state-sponsored blacklisting

    This week my union UCATT announced that it had secured compensation worth £5.6 million for 71 of our members who had their lives ruined by blacklisting. This is a major milestone in a seven year battle, on behalf of workers who were blacklisted on an industrial scale by major construction companies. Other workers are likely to secure compensation in the coming weeks and a High Court case is scheduled for May, when those guilty of blacklisting will be held to […]

    Read more →
  • Featured News Labour fears as Tories confirm plan to cut number of MPs

    Labour fears as Tories confirm plan to cut number of MPs

    Labour’s attempts to win a majority in the Commons have come under further attack as the Government vowed to press ahead with plans to cut the number of MPs by 50 to 600. The move, is expected to hit Labour disproportionately, was confirmed by Ministers today. Oliver Letwin chose to ignore the recommendations of a cross-party committee of MPs – which criticised the Government’s plans as “unsatisfactory”- and claimed there was “no merit” in re-opening the issue. The Tories want […]

    Read more →
Share with your friends










Submit