I am on the Nick Ferrari show on LBC Radio this morning at about 7.50 (UPDATE: Now 8.50 due to technical problems their end) discussing the prospects for the UK economy now that the OECD have forecast no growth at all for us in 2023. That leaves us the anticipated worst performer in that year in the G20, excepting Russia.
I will leave the politics of this aside, I suspect, although I cannot help but take some pleasure if this stops the ridiculous claims Johnson makes about his economic track record. Instead I will concentrate on why we are in this position. There are obvious points to make.
The first is that this is down to Brexit above all else. As this week’s data on regional growth in the UK from the ONS has shown, every part of the country has now seen a decline in GDP compared to 2019 excepting London (almost inevitably) and Northern Ireland, which can only be explained by it remaining inside the single market. We have opted for last place by leaving the EU.
But we have also opted for that place for other reasons. The refusal of Sunak to act in March did not help.
Nor did the fact that when action came it made no attempt to tackle the inflation we have and was instead designed to provide as many people as possible with the means to make payment of the extortionate prices being charged by energy companies, with the focus of the package as a result being on supporting energy companies rather than people.
That we have not cut taxes on fuel and energy to curtail the inflation we face, unlike other countries, is another cause of our predicament. People and small businesses are being crushed as a result.
And then there is, of course, the fact that our central bank is ahead of many in increasing interest rates to crush the remaining lifeblood out of the economy as fast as it can.
As if all this is not enough to explain our predicament, the fact that in the midst of this crisis the reaction of the government is to try to cut the number of civil servants by 20%, meaning that full scale austerity that will crush the size of the economy is planned is another issue to take into account.
Finally, there is one other factor, which is that literally no one in the UK, or beyond it, has any remaining confidence in our government, meaning that anyone with any sense will put their investment plans on hold, such is the shambolic situation that we now face. This too will crush economic activity.
Put all this together and I have more than enough to fill a three to four minute (at best) radio interview in which I have the chance to present the harsh economic reality that the Tories have created.
What I can’t guarantee is to get through all that. But it needs to be said.