Progress | Centre-left Labour politics

Budget 2017: Labour must set the agenda

Only the Labour party can tackle the big economic challenges facing Britain, writes Progress chair Alison McGovern

Today is Philip Hammond’s first budget. He will dress up continued growth as a his party’s success, but with wages falling in real terms and seven years of budget cuts, economic growth is not being felt by British people. Labour’s response must address the ways the Tories have failed. But we must also look at the structure of our economy, and the ways it is stacked against different people, whether it be based on their gender, their location within the country, or their skill set and training available to them. Only Labour will address these issues.

The chancellor has abolished the targets for debt and deficit reduction which George Osborne had set – a quiet indication of defeat which we must not let go unnoticed. The Tories have presided over seven years of economic failure, missing these targets while cutting public services and failing to invest in the infrastructure we need to grow our economy and maintain productivity. Add to this the new challenges we face: Brexit, our ageing population, the changing nature of work, and the regional inequality built into our economy by its power structures.

The Tories have exacerbated many of these problems; it is time for us to lead with solutions. From investing in adult education to provide people with the skills they need to adapt to new industries, to introducing universal childcare to enable our workforce to work or train as they choose, the answers will not be found in years of Brexit-first debate. Labour has to set the agenda for changes to our economy. Britain cannot afford to wait.


Alison McGovern is member of parliament for Wirral South and chair of Progress. She tweets at @Alison_McGovern



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Alison McGovern MP

is chair of Progress

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