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Britain is still in the growth slow lane

Only Cyprus, Greece and Portugal have grown at a slower rate than the UK.

Growth figures for most major European economies have been published today, so how do they compare with the UK's? Both France and Germany grew at a similar rate to Britain in the third quarter of this year, expanding by 0.4 per cent and 0.5 per cent respectively, a point you can expect George Osborne to make repeatedly over the coming weeks.

But if we look at growth over the last 12 months (see the final column on the Eurostat chart), the comparison isn't such a happy one. While Germany has grown by 2.6 per cent and France has grown by 1.6 per cent, Britain has grown by just 0.5 per cent (-0.5 per cent in Q4 2010, 0.4 per cent in Q1, 0.1 per cent in Q2 and 0.5 per cent in Q3), a slower rate of growth than ever EU country expect Cyprus, Greece and Portugal. It's a reminder that, contrary to Osborne, the economy was flatlining even before the current crisis began. In fact, the current crisis won't begin to have a significant effect on growth until the fourth quarter, when growth is likely to be flat or worse.

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The uncomfortable truth is that Osborne's Britain has one of the lowest rates of growth in Europe and one of the highest rates of inflation. This is not a recovery worthy of the name.

Postscript: What about the US, you ask? Will Straw crunched the numbers on The Staggers earlier this month and showed that the American economy has grown by 1.6 per cent over the last year, more than three times the speed of the UK.