More good news from the ONS today, as the latest set of quarterly growth figures come out.
Britain’s economy is, at last, larger than its pre-crisis peak in 2008. It’s a helpful fact that I’m sure we will hear the Chancellor cite as a reminder that what Labour fix, the Conservatives mend. In short, it’s another vindication of almighty Oltep.
While it’s a step in the right direction, we should not get too carried away. As I argue in an article for The Guardian, destroying another of Ed Balls’ lines of defence (each of which puts up all the resistance of a Maginot Line) is helpful, but many people still do not feel the recovery has translated to a recovery in their workplace, their home and their bank account. Making the big stats felt on an individual level will be the key to winning the political argument about the economy.
Then there’s the fact that, after six years of inflation and with a larger population, 2008’s GDP doesn’t give us the same value as it did back then.
Furthermore, as the ONS infographic below shows, there is still precious little sign of the much-vaunted rebalancing of the economy. Getting out of the hole was always just one of the objectives – the Government is also meant to be trying to broaden our manufacturing base in order to make the economy more resilient. And yet, welcome as growth is, it is still mostly coming from the Service sector.