TUC Autumn budget statement 2018

Undoing the damage
Report type
Research and reports
Issue date
01 Oct 2018
Key findings

The evidence that the economy is failing growing numbers of working people is overwhelming. Ten years after the financial crisis it’s time to move away from the politics of austerity that have made UK works poorer, weakened our public finances, and undermined our public services.

It’s time for the government to act, by:

Investing in the economy

  • Raising public investment to at least the OECD average of 3.5% of GDP, so that the UK has the infrastructure needed to attract business and create well-paid jobs
  • Establishing a National Investment Bank, with a remit to target communities where good quality and well-paid jobs are most needed
  • Investing in the training and skills of workers and young people by boosting funding for our college system, including resources to enable the sector to improve access and value for money for learners by developing digital learning opportunities. A good starting point would be for government to take forward the recommendations of the current FE and skills campaign supported by college employers and unions, which is calling for an expanded National Retraining Scheme, a lifelong learning entitlement, and ring-fenced funding for a fair pay deal for college staff  
  • Motivate and enable all workers to gain the skills for the future economy through the development of a universally accessible, high quality information, advice and guidance system that effectively links skills progression and sustainable careers
  • Government should seek to address time poor workers by providing an entitlement to time to learn, especially for workers with low skills or in increasingly vulnerable occupations
  • Ensuring that workers have a real say in how industrial change is managed, with a guaranteed seat on sector deals, and by setting up a new tri-partite future of work commission
  • Strengthening collective bargaining rights for workers, and give trade unions the right to access workplaces to tell people about the benefits of joining a trade union

Restoring public services

  • Giving all public sector workers a fully funded proper pay rise, after years of pay cuts
  • Providing real terms funding increases across the public sector that enable providers to meet on-going demand, deliver world class services and address the significant cuts to resources since 2010. In the medium term, UK spending on public services per capita should be in line with our competitors in Europe, like France, Germany

Implementing a new deal for workers

  • Increasing the minimum wage to £10 as quickly as possible, to increase pay for low earners and boost economic demand
  • Strengthening collective bargaining rights for workers and giving trade unions the right to access workplaces to tell people about the benefits of joining a trade union.
  • Modernising employment status rules so that all workers enjoy the same floor of rights as employees and ending the ‘Swedish derogation’ that allows employers to pay agency workers less than directly employed workers for the same job.
  • Banning zero-hours contracts to give workers better access to guaranteed hours and ensure they are paid in full if work is cancelled at short notice
  • Establishing a system of joint and several liability throughout supply chains for basic employment standards
  • Ensuring the agencies tasked with enforcing employment rights have the resources they need and providing extra funding for the employment tribunal service, which is experiencing a major backlog
  • Stopping the proposed managed migration to universal credit scheduled for January. The numerous problems identified with the design and implementation means it is not fit for purpose.
  • Ensure that all low paid pension savers can benefit from tax relief.

The Autumn Budget comes just after the tenth anniversary of the Lehman Brothers crisis and the global recession. Over this decade workers have suffered the most severe wage squeeze in two centuries and the rise of new forms of insecurity at work. It’s time for a change in approach.