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20 May 2022

How the UK became the sick man of Europe again

UK GDP per capita has grown by just 10 per cent since 2015, compared with 24 per cent for Germany and 18 per cent for France.

By Ben Walker

How much a nation’s economy grows per capita is a key metric to understanding its economic strength. Unlike GDP, which can simply be inflated by population growth or higher immigration, it reflects how living standards have changed over time. 

In 2007, on the eve of the financial crisis, the UK and the US were tied on GDP per capita. But since then, the US has pulled away while Britain has remained sluggish.

In Europe, meanwhile, the UK’s GDP per capita growth pales in comparison with its European neighbours. Since 2015 it has grown by only 10 per cent, compared with 24 per cent for Germany and 18 per cent for France. UK growth has been hit by Brexit, with trade down 12 per cent since 2019, more than twice as much as the next-lowest G7 economy.


Dutch GDP per capita, meanwhile, has grown by a sizeable 28 per cent since 2015.

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