The TUC has said the Chancellor’s economic strategy is going “horribly wrong”.
Commenting on the first estimate of GDP growth published today for the last quarter of 2011, which showed the economy shrunk by 0.2 percentage points, TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “The Chancellor’s economic strategy is going horribly wrong. The grand austerity plan is failing to tackle the deficit, causing unemployment to spiral out of control, and is now dragging the country back towards recession.
“Even the most loyal fans of the Chancellor’s plan, from the IMF to the ratings agencies, are urging him to change course and focus on stimulating the economy, rather than pursue reckless austerity measures that are making a second global recession look more likely.
“Unless the government starts focusing on jobs and growth, it could preside over a decade of economic stagnation, with GDP per capita not set to return to pre-recession levels until at least 2016.”
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “Osborne can’t blame the global economy, he just needs to look in the mirror to see who is responsible. The country faces the worst recession since the 1930s, but this government has done to nothing to support manufacturing or construction
“Building 100,000 extra affordable homes would create up to 750,000 new jobs and generate extra demand in the economy. Instead this government is slashing the public sector.
“Last year, Germany ordered hundreds of high speed trains which would be built in Germany. Instead our government awarded a massive train contract to Germany at the expense of Bombardier, the UK’s last train manufacturer.
“No wonder our growth figures are in freefall when this government slashes spending while doing nothing to support growth and jobs.”