'Fix our broken economy now' call

Unite GS Sharon Graham calls for radical change as GDP continues to stagnate

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The British economy continues to stagnate after new figures published on Thursday (October 12) showed that gross domestic product (GDP) grew by a mere 0.2 per cent in August.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said the latest data demonstrated the need to “fix our broken economy right now”.

Fuelling modest GDP growth in August was an expansion in the services sector of 0.4 per cent, but both the construction and production sectors contracted by 0.5 per cent and 0.7 per cent respectively.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) also had to revise down its estimated GDP for July, which showed the economy shrank by 0.6 per cent, instead of the 0.5 per cent contraction initially projected.

Despite modest growth in August, many economists still believe figures published next month will show an economic contraction for September, which would mean an overall contraction in the third quarter. This would place the UK in a technical recession.

Commenting on the latest GDP figures, Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “The continued stagnation of GDP demonstrates that no political agenda can afford to be dependent on high growth in the short to medium term, and without some radical change it will prove all but impossible to deliver.

“We need to fix our broken economy right now and not allow growth targets to be used as an excuse for delay or a smokescreen for fresh rounds of austerity,” she added.

“Workers earn less today in real terms than they did in 1997 and the divide between the rich and the rest of us is growing ever wider. We urgently need to look at how we divide the pie not just how to make it bigger.”

In related news, earlier this week, Unite launched the latest iteration of its Unite for a Workers’ Economy campaign by asking “Who Should Our Economy Work For?”

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham and the union’s delegation to the Labour Party Conference unveiled the campaign slogan just before the conference got underway on Sunday, October 8.

Unite has undertaken an extensive physical and online advertising campaign throughout Liverpool including billboards, taxis, newspapers and online adverts.

The advertising campaign is part of Unite’s campaign for a Worker’s Economy which builds support among voters for policies that can transform the economy, taking on issues such as public ownership of energy and support to transform the UK’s steel industry.

Find out more here.

By Hajera Blagg