Talking the UK down……….

Today I have spent a few hours amongst the shoppers busily readying themselves for Christmas. It seemed as busy as last Christmas and in many ways it actually appeared busier. It certainly didn’t feel like a recession. Before I go any further I must temper this with the hard reality of all those that have lost their employment over the last 12 months. Yes things are difficult but are they as bad as some would have us believe?

I discovered this piece today on the BBC News website following an article saying that construction is up 2% year on year.

“I don’t mean to sound complacent but, while not good, things are nowhere near as bad as many in the media would have us believe.

UK Govt. debt is currently 59.2% of GDP. High, yes. But still lower than the level in all the other G7 countries BEFORE the credit crunch (source = IMF). True there was a trend of deteriorating public finances in the UK before the credit crunch and there are factors that arguably make true UK Govt. debt higher. But we are in no way in a bad position in global terms, even if certain sections of the media are hell bent convincing us otherwise (probably in order to help perpetuate their self-declared reputation for King-making in UK politics).

As for stimulus, if you look at the G7 nations plus India and China, the UK has the fourth lowest spending on its stimulus package. Only France, India and Italy have spent less. Specifically, stimulus is 1.5% of GDP for the UK compared with 4.4% of GDP for China, 4.8% for the US, 3.4% for Germany, 2.7% for Canada and 2.2% for Japan.

This means that, if it is already out of recession (or close to it), the UK will have achieved this with a lower level of stimulus and a lower risk from negative effects when the stimulus ends than most of our major global competitors.

None of this means much right now if you’ve just lost your job, obviously. But it is important for the future and I am sick of only hearing the downside.”

I couldn’t agree more – so let’s be really clear. Despite the injections into the UK economy it still has a smaller debt than any other G7 country, and we have injected less public money than most nations and our statistics are running a bit behind reality. And all this information is produced by an independent body , the IMF.

So what is going in our press?  Just like the bankers they are all about feathering their nests and are intent on talking down our nation for their own ends – come on everybody, wake up and smell the beginnings of a recovery.