I’ve worked with Geoff Tily, the chief economist at the TUC, over many years, including in his role as an ad hoc members of the Green New Deal Group and as co-members of the Progressive Economy Forum. We don’t always agree, but he’s on form on the TUC blog with his budget reaction:
This is not the time for feel good initiatives but for real action.
The TUC set out a plan for how investment in infrastructure and public services could deliver millions of new jobs. Research for the TUC shows that an £85bn investment in green infrastructure could help create 1.24 million jobs in the next two years. There are over 100,000 vacancies in social care, and 100,000 more in the NHS. There have been 100,000 redundancies in the past decade in local government. But public services got nothing from today’s statement.
The TUC have calculated that to match Roosevelt’s New Deal would mean a total of £450 billion spending over the next five years. In spite of all the fanfare, the chancellor announced just £3billion for greening homes and public buildings on top of the prime minister’s so called ‘new deal’ package of only £5bn.
I added the emphasis in the second paragraph. Here is a government that is saying it is going to create jobs and yet it is refusing to partake in the process. The already shattered and down private sector has, apparently, to do all the heavy lifting on this issue when the jobs that are required - in care, on the environment, in education, and so much else - are very largely public sector roles.
This can only be ideological. The idea that the state must be shrunk survives in this government even as the economy is falling apart all around it.
When we see local authorities, health care trusts, universities, schools and others given the funding to create the jobs that people really want then we will know that the government is serious about its goals. But right now there is not a hint of that.
And that is why Sunak’s plan will fail.