Chancellor ‘dragging down economy’

Union leaders accused the Government of “dragging down” the economy as they published research showing that the UK has experienced the second lowest export growth of all G7 countries over the past two years.

The TUC urged Chancellor George Osborne to signal a change of direction in next month’s Budget to boost growth and investment. Companies should also be forced to disclose pay ratios between the lowest and highest paid staff under moves to tackle “soar away” directors’ pay.

In its Budget submission, the TUC called for a publicly-owned business bank to be set up.

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The union organisation said of the G7 countries, only Japan had fared worse on exports since 2010.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The UK is currently gripped by two big crises – falling living standards and economic stagnation. For all the Chancellor’s talk of the UK paying its way in the world, his own strategy is dragging the economy down.

“On growth, exports and investment the UK is falling behind its competitors in Europe and across the globe.”