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Government must ‘step in to stop a damaging recession’ and job losses, TUC says

TORY ministers must “step in and stop a damaging recession,” the TUC said today after official figures showed that Britain’s economy is contracting.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt was forced to concede that the situation will “get worse before it gets better” following a warning from the Office for National Statistics that gross domestic product fell by 0.3 per cent between July and September.

Confirmation that Britain is already in recession — defined as negative growth for two consecutive quarters — is expected early next year when data for October to December is released.

Following short-lived prime minister Liz Truss’s disastrous “mini-budget” earlier this year, the Bank of England has predicted that the country is facing its longest downturn since records began, saying it will continue until early 2024.

Economic activity is slowing across all major sectors, including production, construction and services, putting hundreds of thousands of jobs and livelihoods at stake.

October saw a brief respite when the economy grew by 0.5 per cent compared with the previous month, but the data showing the fleeting rebound was skewed by the hit to trading following the additional bank holiday for the Queen’s funeral on September 19.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady demanded action, saying: “Ministers should step in to stop a damaging recession and job losses. 

“Britain needs a pay rise,” she said. “Rishi Sunak should stop attacking working people defending their pay and sit down to negotiate fair pay rises with unions.” 

The PM was widely criticised last week for promising tougher curbs on the right to strike as Britain faces a “Christmas of discontent” with national walkouts across the NHS, rail network and Civil Service.

Labour pledged to resist the attack but failed to confirm that it would repeal any new anti-union legislation if it wins the next general election. 

Today, shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said that the economic numbers “underline the failure of this Tory government to grow our economy, leaving us lagging behind on the global stage.

“These are challenging economic times, but there is a choice. We can continue down the road of managed decline or draw on bold thinking to propel us forward.”

The Leeds West MP claimed that Labour will “make our economy stronger and get it growing with our ‘green prosperity plan’ and an active partnership with business.”

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