U.K. Labor Movement Adds to Calls for Hammond to Boost Spending

  • Prioritize infrastructure investment, TUC urges chancellor
  • Britain ‘can’t just waltz into Brexit,’ O’Grady tells Hammond

Britain’s umbrella labor organization, the Trades Union Congress, added its voice to calls for Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond to boost spending on infrastructure in his end-of-year fiscal statement next week.

Employers’ groups such as the Confederation of British Industry have already urged the finance minister to prioritize investment in the Autumn Statement to Parliament, the chancellor’s first big opportunity to recast fiscal and economic policy since he was appointed after the Brexit vote.

“We can’t just waltz into Brexit with our fingers crossed,” TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said in an e-mailed statement. “We need investment in rail and roads. We need investment in new homes and clean energy.”

Hammond has relaxed the deficit-reduction targets put in place by his predecessor, George Osborne, to allow for “carefully targeted” investment, but he’s indicated there’ll be no spending “splurge” in the measures to be announced next Wednesday. Sky News television reported that the chancellor will invest as much as 15 billion pounds ($19 billion) in small-scale infrastructure projects.

The TUC urged Hammond to focus on regional investment, including broadband improvements. It also urged him to lift caps on public-sector pay.

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