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UK recovery is not helping ordinary people, says TUC

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The UK's economic recovery is far behind schedule and is doing little to boost ordinary people's living standards, according to the Trades Union Congress (TUC).

The TUC, the umbrella body for the trade unions, said that had growth risen in line with the Office for Budget Responsibility’s (OBR) original forecasts the economy would have grown by 7.9% since 2010 instead of 4.2%, a difference in cash terms of £60bn.

Average earnings in mid-2013 were more than 25% (£780 a year) lower than the OBR predicted when the government took office, the TUC said.

Its analysis also revealed that UK exports are down 20% on OBR forecasts costing the economy £33.2bn and the unemployment rate of 7.8% is higher than the OBR’s prediction of 7.3%, equating to 158,000 more people out of work than expected.

The TUC said any growth so far has been “too little too late”, and the recent improvements in the economy have done little to address people’s living standards, with UK workers still enduring the longest wage squeeze since the 1870s.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The government has been quick to proclaim recent growth as proof that its economic plan is working.

“However, a look behind the headline figures shows that our recovery is way behind schedule and that austerity has acted as a huge drag across the economy over recent years. The government’s mess has cost us £60bn, with the economy growing half as fast as expected.

“We need a far stronger and more sustainable recovery if the huge squeeze on living standards over the last three years is to be reversed. We also need a new approach to make sure that as growth comes its rewards are fairly shared – for now the slowest recovery in a century still isn’t delivering for working families.”


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