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Chancellor's Budget falls short of target.


WE had two big tests for the Chancellor last week: would he give public sector workers a pay rise and would he get the country ready for Brexit? TUC analysis of official figures published on Budget Day shows that wages are now set to be worth PS800 less per year in 2021 than had been expected at the Budget in March.

We were disappointed that the Budget only offered a pay rise to nurses as the whole of the public sector works as a team. The public sector pay squeeze has reduced spending power in the North East by PS422m in the last year alone; it's not good for families and not good for business either.

So the news for workers gets worse. Their wages are set to be worth hundreds of pounds less than the Government thought in the coming years. This Budget won't give Britain the pay rise it so badly needs.

The investment measures in the Chancellor's statement are far below what is needed to boost growth, get wages rising, and get Britain fit for Brexit.

Capital investment is set to peak at 2.9% GDP, and average 2.8% GDP, across the current parliament to 2022. This will leave if far short of the OECD average of 3.5% GDP.

The Chancellor's job was to get Britain's economy fit for Brexit. But what he announced falls far short of the investment boost the economy needs. And it leaves us trailing our competitors.

The Government must urgently up its game, or life outside of the EU will be a rough ride for working people. Investment must be targeted at the big sectors of the future, like low-carbon industry. And it must be directed towards communities that are most in need of more and better jobs.

Making people wait less for Universal Credit is a small step forward, but big changes are needed or workers will be left thousands of pounds a year worse off. If the Chancellor can afford tax cuts for big business, he can afford to help working families.

The TUC Budget submission called for the Government to get Britain fit for a prosperous future by: | Investing in our public services and public servants - the Treasury must fund real public sector pay increases, and give public services a new financial settlement with real-term increases; | Ending the living standards squeeze and give Britain a pay rise - the minimum wage should increase to PS10 per hour as soon as possible, including for workers aged 21 to 24. Cuts to Universal Credit should be reversed. And unions should have stronger rights to enter workplaces so they can help more workers benefit from collective wage bargaining.

| Upgrading the UK's economic model to deliver better growth - public infrastructure investment must rise from 2.7% GDP to the OECD average of 3.5% GDP. Funds must go to housing, transport, science and R&D. And the industrial strategy white paper must put the workforce at its heart and provide a framework for government, business and unions to work together.

| Setting out a plan to get workplaces fit for the future - the Budget should set aside new funding for improved enforcement of workers' rights, and refunding of tribunal fees. Working parents need paid paternity leave, and expanded paternity pay. And investment in training for workers should be increased to the EU average within the next five years.

Beth Farhat is regional secretary of the

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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 27, 2017
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