The economy grew in the last quarter. A cause for rejoicing? There does seem to be a difference of view amongst politicians. Nothing-new there then.
First off the block was the Conservative Shadow Minister for Business Nick Ramsay AM, who said, surprise, surprise “These figures are an extremely encouraging sign and I wholeheartedly welcome this further proof that the UK economy is on the mend.”
Not to be out done the other partner in the Westminster used it to justify their co-habitation agreement. Their Assembly Member Eluned Parrott, Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Minister for Economy, said, “This is welcome news. Our economy is showing strong signs of recovery, but we still have a long way to go and there can be no room for complacency. The Welsh Liberal Democrats are committed to finishing the task of recovery, creating jobs and making Wales and Britain’s economy strong again.
“The UK Coalition Government was formed at a time when the country’s finances were in complete ruins. After wrecking the economy, Labour spent the last years rubbishing the Coalition’s growth plan. They were wrong. Slowly but surely the plan is working and the economy is recovering.” So there you have it, if it wasn’t for us you’d be in the mire.
Plaid Cymru shadow economy spokesperson Alun Ffred Jones who said “Plaid Cymru is hopeful that the Welsh economy is finally turning the corner, but there is still a great deal of work to be done in creating better paid work in Wales. With the three London-based parties all signed up to further weakening the economy through more cuts to vital services, it is more important than ever that Plaid Cymru are the party who will stand up for the people of Wales.”
And through gritted teeth Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith, commented by saying “We’ve had three wasted years under this Tory-led government so today’s growth figures are welcome and a small step in the right direction. But they’re also long overdue. We’ve had the slowest economic recovery in over a century and growth has been a fraction of what Cameron and Osborne told us it would be.”
Well those are the fairly predictable views of the politician but is it good news and are we now back on the road to recovery?
The quarter saw the Gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 0.6% compared with the first quarter and it was in all four of the main industrial groupings (agriculture, production, construction and services). So that’s a cause of good news indeed.
But hold on the Chief statistician of the ONS Joe Grice made the point that UK GDP is still 3.3% below its all time peak in 2008. So things are not quiet as rosy as the headlines would make out. At the current rate of growth it will take us another eighteen months to get back to that level. The US and German economies, by contrast, have recovered to their pre-crisis levels. France is also near that point. So we’ve got a long way to go.
Further more, in a rare note issued after this month’s meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee, the Bank of England said: “There have been further signs that a recovery is in train, although it remains weak by historical standards and a degree of slack is expected to persist for some time.”Q2
So there we have it, forget politician speak, what we have is very welcomed but it is unspectacular.
But will today’s news make us feel better. Unlikely. Wages still drag behind the rate of inflation. So people are worse off. However the politicians spin it the economy has a long way to go before prosperity returns.