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TUC’s plan for ‘a better recovery’ would almost guarantee no recovery at all, says IEA expert

IEA Editorial and Research Fellow Professor Len Shackleton responded to the TUC’s report published yesterday, A Better Recovery, which calls for the government to form a National Recovery Council

“The TUC’s plan for ‘a better recovery’ would almost guarantee we would have no recovery at all.

“Until Covid-19 hit, the UK’s labour market was at its most successful in decades with very high levels of employment and the lowest unemployment rate for 45 years. This was due in large measure to its flexibility compared to the scelerotic continental European economies. To abandon that approach would be foolish in the extreme.

“A higher minimum wage for all workers, pay increases for the public sector, a ban on zero hours contracts, higher benefits and other goodies proposed by the TUC are fantasies in the current climate and would worsen unemployment.

“The proposal for a tripartite National Recovery Council would be a pointless talking shop. It resembles the National Economic Development Council of the 1960s, a decade of industrial strife which too many unionists look on with fondness. No government can provide a ‘job guarantee’ of the sort the TUC report calls for. 

“These measures, and others such as the plan to ban outsourcing and to subsidise new ‘green’ businesses, would mean a greatly increased tax burden on the private sector which ultimately finances far too many of the UK’s public sector trade unionists. Our way out of the recovery must involve a bigger role for the market economy, not its further constriction by government.”


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The mission of the Institute of Economic Affairs is to improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems.

The IEA is a registered educational charity and independent of all political parties.

 A Better Recovery – learning the lessons of coronavirus to create a stronger, fairer economy

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