One of George Osborne’s favourite new boasts is that the UK is growing faster than any other G7 country. In the most recent quarter, output rose by 0.8%, compared to 0.7% in the US, 0.3% in Germany and 0.4% in Japan. Osborne said in his Autumn Statement:
I can report that Britain is currently growing faster than any other major advanced economy.
Faster than France, which is contracting.
Faster than Germany, faster even than America.
Unfortunately for the Tories, who were keen to push this line today, that’s no longer true. Just 25 minutes after Osborne sat down, the US published revised growth figures showing that GDP rose by 0.9% in the third quarter, 0.1% above the UK’s growth rate. And, of course, while the UK is still making up lost ground from the recession (the economy is 2.5% smaller than in 2007), the US economy is more than 5% above its previous peak.
But while the US’s sterling performance has robbed Osborne of a political line, a strong American economy is unambiguously good news for the UK and the world.