After the UK economy contracted by 0.2% in the three months to June 2019, The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has this morning announced that the UK economy has narrowly avoided slipping into recession by growing by 0.3% in the 3 months to September. The ONS explained that this meant that under the Tories the annual GDP growth compared to September 2018 had fallen to just 1% , the weakest annual growth rate since 2010 when the economy was just starting to recover after the worst of the recession induced by the sub-prime banking crisis in the US. This is less than half the annual growth in GDP between 2010 and 2016 prior to the Brexit referendum, a period that in itself was slower than trend average due to the austerity cuts made by the Tory/Liberal Democrat coalition government.
John McDonnell, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, commenting on the news that economic growth has slowed to its lowest rate in almost a decade, said:
“Over the last year, growth slowed to its lowest rate in almost a decade. The fact that the Tory Government will be celebrating 0.1% growth in the last six months is a sign of how low their hopes and expectations for our economy are.
“Labour will build a high-wage, high-skill economy by investing for growth in every region and nation of the UK.”
James Bull, Labour candidate for South East Cambridgeshire, commented further on the news:
“This news will come as a further blow to our region but, in all honesty, will come as no surprise. Our businesses of all sizes are some of the most important engines for growth for UK PLC. However, they are being held back by the Tories and Boris Johnson’s obsession with a hard Brexit deal, which most major economists believe will reduce growth by at least 4-5% per annum, and significantly more if it results in no deal at the end of negotiations with the EU at the end of 2020.
“Labour will renegotiate the deal to provide a much closer relationship with Europe, before letting the people decide whether to remain in the EU or leave on these much less damaging terms. Labour is the party that is truly pro-business.”
Later, in a further blow to Tory economic credibility, it is reported that Tory chancellor Sajid Javid refused to debate John McDonnell. John McDonnell formally agreed 10 days ago to go up against Sajid Javid in a proposed 90 minute set piece on Sunday 17 November. In the light of today’s catastrophic economic news showing the results of nearly ten years of economic mismanagement, aided and abetted by the Liberal Democrats in coalition, it could be speculated that Mr Javid is reluctant to defend the Tory’s record.