If George Osborne wasn’t already feeling jolly after the progression of his friends and allies in yesterday’s reshuffle, two items of economic news this afternoon should bring a smile to his face.
The IMF has upgraded its forecasts for 2013 UK economic growth from 0.9 per cent to 1.4 per cent, and next year’s forecast from 1.5 per cent to 1.9 per cent. That would make the UK the fastest growing economy in Europe, and further increase the chance of us regaining pre-crash levels of GDP in time for the next election, a totemic message to be able to send out.
At the same time, a survey of members of the Institute of Directors shows they are remarkably bullish about the prospects for the economy. “75 per cent of IoD members saying the outlook is now brighter than at any stage since the financial crisis hit in 2008”, the business body reports. 46 per cent are highly optimistic for the coming 12 months, while only 12 per cent have low confidence – a complete reversal of their opinion at the start of the year.
The economy – and the public finances – still have plenty of problems, and the Chancellor must not look cock-a-hoop. But this is the evidence that bolsters his claim that the medicine is working, and therefore helps him to prescribe more of the same.