George Osborne is sending painfully mixed signals about Britain's economy

Louis Dor
Saturday 09 January 2016 16:00
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Chancellor George Osborne on 7 January 2016 in Cardiff

In case you missed it, George Osborne issued a stark warning against economic complacency on Thursday.

In a speech in Cardiff, the Chancellor gave, in his own words, “a very clear warning" to opposition politicians who "peddle those views" that we can see an end to austerity, any time soon:

I worry about a creeping complacency in the national debate about our economy. A sense that the hard work at home is complete and that we're immune from the risks abroad. A sense that we can let up and the good economic news will just keep rolling in.

Last year was the worst for global growth since the crash and this year opens with a dangerous cocktail of new threats from around the world.

For Britain, the only antidote to that is confronting complacency and delivering the plan that we've set out.

Anyone who thinks it's mission accomplished with the British economy is making a grave mistake, 2016 is the year that we can get down to work and make the lasting changes Britain so badly needs or it will be the year we look back at as the beginning of the decline. This year, quite simply the economy is mission critical.

A Chancellor telling opposition not to oversell economic success is a bit abnormal, let's give him credit for trying to manage expectations.

We wonder, however, where opposition politicians have got the idea that we can start spending again on public services? Or that we had seen a significant upturn in the economy, to the point that we were somehow set apart from the rest of the world?

As George Osborne said in his Autumn Statement speech at the end of November last year:

Since the summer Budget, new economic data has been published which confirms this: Since 2010, no economy in the G7 has grown faster than Britain.

We’ve grown almost three times faster than Japan, twice as fast as France, faster than Germany and at the same rate as the United States.

For we’re determined that this will be an economic recovery for all, felt in all parts of our nation. That is already happening.

Ah.

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