‘ECON­OMY WEAKER AF­TER BREXIT VOTE’

Wales On Sunday - - NEWS - ALAN JONES Press As­so­ci­a­tion

WAGES have fallen, eco­nomic growth is weaker and the UK’s re­liance on the Euro­pean Union for trade has in­creased since the ref­er­en­dum to leave the EU, a new study re­veals.

Re­search by the TUC showed that the eco­nomic po­si­tion of the UK has weak­ened over the past year, with house­hold fi­nances be­ing “squeezed”.

The union or­gan­i­sa­tion said its find­ings should spark the Gov­ern­ment into tak­ing ac­tion to strengthen the econ­omy in prepa­ra­tion for Brexit, in­clud­ing in­vest­ment in in­fra­struc­ture and guar­an­tee­ing work­ers’ rights.

The report, pub­lished ahead of the open­ing day of the TUC Congress in Brighton, said growth had slowed in 11 in­dus­tries in the year to June, with only three em­ploy­ment sec­tors see­ing real wage rises.

TUC gen­eral sec­re­tary Frances O’Grady said: “Our test for a suc­cess­ful Brexit is whether work­ing peo­ple are bet­ter off. Through­out Brexit, the Gov­ern­ment must pro­tect jobs and de­liver stronger growth that reaches work­ers’ pock­ets through higher pay.

“Suc­cess­ful Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions are es­sen­tial, but not enough. We have to deal with Bri­tain’s long-stand­ing prob­lems like low pro­duc­tiv­ity and weak pub­lic in­vest­ment.

“But with just 18 months to go be­fore we leave, the econ­omy is grow­ing weaker, and Bri­tain is sim­ply not in­vest­ing enough in the in­fra­struc­ture we need to com­pete with the world’s strong­est economies.

“The Chan­cel­lor must take ac­tion in the Budget to boost pub­lic invest- ment. This would help re­store busi­ness con­fi­dence and get firms in­vest­ing more too.”

A Gov­ern­ment spokesman said: “As we leave the Euro­pean Union, we will en­sure that work­ers’ rights are fully protected and main­tained and we will build on our eco­nomic suc­cess by es­tab­lish­ing a deep and spe­cial part­ner­ship with the EU while em­brac­ing the wider world as an in­de­pen­dent, open, trad­ing na­tion.”

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