High-powered report highlights growing geographical and income gaps within UK economy
Findings reinforce need for a functioning Executive to deliver a progressive and radical agenda for change
September 6th: Jackie Pollock, Deputy Regional Secretary for Unite, responded to the interim report of the IPPR Commission on Economic Justice “Time for Change: A New Vision for the British Economy”.
“The findings of this report represent a withering indictment of the policies pursued by consecutive Westminster governments over past decades; policies that have failed our economy, our regions, our workers and our public services. As the report says, it is a ‘moment for new, radical policy options’.
“Many of the issues raised in the UK-wide report are highly relevant to Northern Ireland. It confirms the UK is the most geographically unbalanced economy in Europe, where only London and the Southeast, the strongest economic regions, have recovered to their pre-2008 levels. It also correctly highlights that the lack of investment and resulting economic output stagnation means UK productivity is now 13 percent below the G7 average, sadly Northern Ireland productivity lags almost 20 percent further behind that.
“The report also confirms that the growth in employment has been delivered through an increasingly insecure and ‘casualised’ labour market, meaning economic growth no longer leads to higher pay. It forecasts UK wages will have suffered the longest stagnation for 150 years with young workers in particular paying the price – they are poorer than previous generations at the same age. Again it should be noted that the challenges facing us in Northern Ireland are even greater where household incomes are among the very lowest in the UK.
“We share the Commission’s demand for a more dynamic and partnership-based approach to the economy, and manufacturing in particular; an approach that will deliver higher productivity, better jobs with higher wages and shorter working hours. Rebalancing the economy will provide a strong base to sustain public services, address the housing crisis and deliver environmental improvement.
“For Northern Ireland to realise that progressive vision will require a functioning, locally-accountable Executive with the will to take an alternative and radical approach to growing our economy. As such this report reinforces the imperative for political representatives on all sides to find a way to work together for the collective good”, Mr Pollock concluded.