CBI cuts forecast for UK economic growth

From The Guardian: Britain’s leading employers’ organisation, the Confederation of British Industry, has warned the UK economy will shift down a gear this year and risks remaining in the slow lane.

Cutting its growth forecasts for the year, owing to heavy snowfall in the opening months of 2018 and lingering fears over Brexit, the CBI said it expected the growth rate for the British economy to slow to 1.4%, from 1.8% last year.

The rate of GDP growth is then forecast to fall further still, to 1.3% next year, as the UK leaves the EU.

The downgrade comes as business groups become increasingly worried about the lack of progress being made by ministers in talks with Brussels, amid divisions between senior cabinet members. Business leaders fear there will be little progress made before parliament breaks for its summer recess next month.

[Read full article on Guardian website…]

UK economy posts worst quarterly GDP figures for five years

From The Guardian: The weakest household spending for three years and falling levels of business investment dragged the economy to the worst quarter for five years, official statisticians have said.

The Office for National Statistics confirmed its previous estimate that GDP growth slumped to 0.1% in the first quarter, while sticking to its view that the “beast from the east” had little impact.

The latest figures will further stoke concerns over the strength of the UK economy, amid increasing signals for deteriorating growth as Britain prepares to leave the EU next year. Some economists, including officials at the Bank of England, thought the growth rate would be revised higher as more data became available.

[Read full article on Guardian website…]

One in 12 young people are working in zero-hours jobs

From Morning Star: Zero-hours contracts have risen to nearly two million in Britain, with one in 12 young people working uncertain hours.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the figures, published today, increased from 1.7m to 1.8m in the year to last November and represents 6 per cent of all contracts.

Of these, the ONS has reported, 901,000 workers are on zero-hours contracts as some are forced to work more than one.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Most people are not on zero-hours contracts by choice. They want the same rights, security and guaranteed hours as other employees.

“More than half of zero-hours contract workers have had jobs cancelled with less than a day’s notice. Zero-hours contracts are a licence to treat people like disposable labour and the government should ban them.”

[Read full article on Morning Star website…]

Number of zero-hours contracts in UK rose by 100,000 in 2017 – ONS

From The Guardian: The number of zero-hours contracts in use across the UK rose by about 100,000 last year, according to official figures.

The Office for National Statistics, said the number of employment contracts without a minimum number of guaranteed hours increased to 1.8m in the year to November, up from 1.7m in 2016.

People on zero hours contracts are more likely to be young, women, students or those in part-time employment. Although some like the potential flexibility, about a quarter of people want to work more hours, compared with only 7.3% of people in other forms of employment.

A survey from the TUC found more than half of workers on zero-hours contracts have had shifts cancelled less than 24 hours before they were due to begin.

[Read full article on Guardian website…]

Labour demands answers on ‘high-risk’ Carillion contracts

From the Guardian: Labour has called on the Tory government to explain why it awarded contracts worth nearly £2bn to Carillion even after it became clear the company was in financial distress.

The construction and outsourcing group, which has just gone into liquidation, issued the first of three warnings about its financial health in July.

The shadow Cabinet Office minister, Jon Trickett, pointed to regulations showing Carillion could have been designated “high risk” at that point, and he called on the government to explain what measures it had taken to check the firm was ready for more taxpayer-funded work.

Trickett said: “Alarm bells have been ringing for over six months about the state of Carillion’s finances, so the government must come forward and answer questions on exactly what due diligence measures were undertaken before awarding contracts to Carillion worth billions of taxpayers’ money.”

Carillion issued its first profit warning on 10 July. A week later a joint venture between Carillion, its construction rival Kier and the French civil engineer Eiffage won a £1.4bn contract to work on the HS2 high-speed rail link.

The day after that, on 18 July, Carillion won a £158m contract from the Ministry of Defence to provide “catering, retail and leisure, together with hotel and mess services” at 233 military facilities.15

A second profit warning in September was followed five weeks later by the award from Network Rail of a contract to electrify the London-to-Corby rail line. A week afterwards the company put out a third profit warning, only to be awarded a £12m schools building contract three days later.

[Read full article on Guardian website…]

Company profitability up in last decade, while real wages slide, says TUC

From the TUC: Profitability has grown in the last decade, while real wages have fallen, according to new TUC analysis of ONS figures.

The latest figures show UK-registered corporate profitability at 12.6% in 2017, up from 11.4% in 2007. Yet real wages in the same period fell by 4.4%. In the services sector, profitability is even higher – rising from 14% to 19.1%.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Working people aren’t getting their fair share. Profitability is up, but real wages are still in freefall. It’s especially galling to see so many people on poverty pay in the service sector, where profits have shot up. Not only does Britain deserve a pay rise, but this evidence shows that business can afford it too.”

[Read full news release on TUC website…]

Plot by Tory ministers could slash paid holidays for 7 million workers, says TUC

From the TUC: A plot by #Tory ministers to scrap the Working Time Directive in the UK reported today could deny paid holidays to millions of workers, and make long working weeks the norm, the TUC has said.

The Sunday Times and Sun both report plans by ministers – including Michael Gove and Boris Johnson – to scrap the Working Time Directive after Brexit.

Losing the protections of the directive means that:

  • 7 million workers could lose rights to paid holidays – 4.7 million of them women, and many on zero-hours or part-time contracts.
  • Even more workers could be forced by bosses to work weeks longer than 48 hours.
  • Workers could lose the right to lunch and rest breaks.
  • Night workers could lose some health and safety protections.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “This is a straight-up attack on our rights at work. Millions could lose their paid holidays, and be forced to work ridiculously long hours.

Read more

Inflation rises to 3.1%, adding to UK cost of living squeeze

From The Guardian: The government has admitted households are feeling the pain from rising inflation after the cost of living rose to a near six-year high of 3.1% in November.

The annual inflation rate has more than doubled from 1.2% to 3.1% in the past year – its highest level since March 2012.

Frances O’Grady, the TUC general secretary, said: “Christmas dinner is going to be a lot more expensive this year. Food prices have gone up at twice the rate of wages.

“The government is failing to deal with Britain’s cost of living crisis. Working people need a pay rise. They shouldn’t have to worry about putting the turkey on the table.”

[Read full article on Guardian website…]

Tory trade secretary: If UK trade figures are bad, it’s nothing to do with me

The quote used by The House magazine to promote their interview with Tory trade secretary Liam Fox is:

Tory trade secretary #LiamFox: If UK trade figures are bad, it's nothing to do with me.

Posted by Stop the Tories Channel on Saturday, November 25, 2017

Read more

#Budget2017: Stagnant earnings forecast ‘astonishing’

From BBC News: The prediction that average UK earnings in 2022 could still be less than in 2008 is “astonishing”, according to an independent economic think tank.

Paul Johnson, director of the politically independent Institute for Fiscal Studies, added that the economic forecasts published in the Budget made for “pretty grim reading”.

He highlighted that since 2014 growth in earnings has been “choked off”.

“We are in danger of losing not just one but getting on for two decades of earnings growth,” he said.

Read more

#ToryCompetence: UK national debt 1998-2017 infographic

The narrative of the Tory press is that the UK’s debt issues are all Gordon Brown’s doing, and #ToryCompetence (LOL) is saving the day.

This infographic from the Press Association tells an ever-so-slightly different reality.

#UKNationalDebt: The narrative of the Tory press is that the UK's debt issues are all Gordon Brown's doing, and…

Posted by Stop the Tories Channel on Saturday, November 25, 2017

Apprenticeships fall by 59%

From The Guardian: Employers and unions have called for a rethink of the Tory government’s apprenticeship policies after a 59% fall in those taking up trainee posts since a new scheme was launched in April.

Just 48,000 people started an apprenticeship in the final three months of the educational year to July 2017, compared with 117,800 in the same period a year before. The biggest drop came in the lowest level “intermediate” apprenticeships, which dived by 75%, compared with a 48% drop in the most advanced training courses.

Critics of the scheme say the increased costs and complexities are deterring employers from creating apprenticeship posts.

[Read full article on Guardian website…]

Shame, spin and no substance – visibly angry Corbyn fumes over Tory budget

From RT: Jeremy Corbyn poured his scorn on the May government over announcements that the Tories claim will pull Britons out of poverty and put the young on the property ladder.

Corbyn slammed the government, and mocked them for the policies that he agreed with, stating they had been “lifted” from his own manifesto. “It’s falling pay, slow growth and rising poverty,” he said.

“This is what the chancellor has the cheek to call a strong economy. The poorest tenth of households will lose 10 percent of income by 2022, while the richest will lose just 1 percent. So much for tackling burning injustice. This is a government tossing fuel on the fire,” added the Labour leader.

“8.3 million people are over indebted. If he wants to help people out of debt, back Labour policy for a real living wage of £10 per hour by 2020.” Read more

Vince Cable on Budget 2017: Tories’ Brexit position left the chancellor with little room to manoeuvre

Vince Cable, leader of the Lib Dems, writes in The Times: “The Budget contained news that badly damaged the Conservatives’ reputation for economic competence. For a start, it was confirmed that we have slipped from the fifth to the sixth biggest economy in the world, behind France, and worse could follow.”

[Read column on The Times website…] (paywall, but free registration allows access to two free articles per month)

North of England hardest hit by Tory cuts

From BBC News: The north of England has seen the biggest cuts in Tory government spending over the past five years, official figures show.

Spending in the north has fallen by £696m in real terms since 2012, while the south of England has seen an increase of £7bn.

Labour have called on the government to end its austerity programme in the budget on Wednesday.

Government figures show that, when inflation is taken into account, every region in the north of England has seen a fall in spending on services since 2012, while every other English region has seen an increase.
Read more

1 2 3 4