Spirit of consensus has gone as ministers seek a scapegoat for the stagflation affecting the economy

A little more than two years ago Rishi Sunak stood outside 11 Downing Street flanked by the head of the TUC, Frances O’Grady, and Carolyn Fairbairn, the boss of Britain’s leading employers’ group, the CBI. The photo op was meant to demonstrate a new spirit of tripartite solidarity that would help see Britain through the pandemic.

The TUC had played a big part in plans for the furlough wage subsidy scheme and the chancellor was eager to show his gratitude. Announcing the government’s emergency economic package to parliament, Sunak thanked the TUC for its “constructive conversations” with the Treasury.

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