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End fixation on economic growth, says Labour's McDonnell

Britain is too obsessed with economic “growth for the sake of growth”, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has claimed.
High taxes and spending are part of the solution, he said, but cannot solve what he calls “fundamental” problems in the economy.
Redistribution only “made sense when the economy was growing and creating relatively secure, relatively well-paid work”, the shadow chancellor said.
He said the Government is “fixated” on economic growth and should instead shift its focus onto “decent, secure work... and combatting climate change”.
End fixation on economic growth, says Labour's McDonnell

McDonnell jousting with Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, on the Andrew Marr Show. McDonnell says more robots are needed to boost British productivity

Credit:
BBC/Getty
That means hiking the minimum wage, promoting unions, and bringing more robots and modern technology into British industry, he said.
Unemployment is at its lowest levels since the 1970s, which the Government says is evidence the economy is performing well and offering more opportunities to people across the country.
Increasing numbers are in full time, permanent employment, too, with part-time work on the slide.
But Mr McDonnell told a Resolution Foundation event much of this remains “meaningless, underpaid, and insecure work” which is “dire for working people”.
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He said the UK’s poor productivity performance over the past decade needs to be addressed urgently.
“Britain is lagging far behind other, comparable economies in the use of robotics. In manufacturing alone, we have the lowest rate of industrial robot use in the entire OECD,” he said, proposing “placing the ownership and control of automation in the hands of the people, not a few corporations.”
He also said he wants “to improve the representation of workers and consumers on company boards”, something Theresa May considered but eventually abandoned.
“The programme we intend to present at the next election will represent nothing less than the transformation of the British economy,” Mr McDonnell said.
"That will mean changing how government thinks about economic policy – not fixated on growth for the sake of growth, however and wherever it can be achieved – but on meaningful social outcomes, like creating decent, secure work across the country and combatting climate change."
He added that “the situation, if the status quo continues, will be dire for working people – of a public realm and public services that is disintegrating; of meaningless, underpaid, and insecure work; and a future that is blighted, perhaps permanently, by the appalling consequences of climate change and environmental destruction.”
The Bank of England expects wage growth to accelerate this year to more than 3pc, and inflation to slow down, returning British workers to a real-terms improvement in living standards in 2018.
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