Boris Johnson has been given a pre-election boost as the UK economy swung out of recession danger with a positive swing to 0.4% in the last quarter.
Official estimates for July through September to be released on Monday will show the economy has hurdled a 0.2% shrink in the economy in the last quarter.
It means that Mr Johnson can campaign without the gloom of a recession hanging over his government, defined as two successive quarters of negative growth.
Economic forecasts have moved erratically due to the fluidity of the Brexit deadlines, at one time March 29, shifting to October 31 and most recently a ‘flextension’ to January 31.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson tastes whisky during a general election campaign visit to Diageo’s Roseisle Distillery near Elgin, north east Scotland on Thursday
In a further boost for the Prime Minister, the Office of National Statistics will on Tuesday publish its unemployment rate, expected to remain stable at 3.9% and with a wage increase of 3.8%, The Telegraph reported.
But despite the ONS statistics, last week credit ratings agency Moody’s gave a dim outlook to Britain’s sovereign rating, blaming Brexit-related policy.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn makes no secret of its desire to increase the role of the state
‘It would be optimistic to assume that the previously cohesive, predictable approach to legislation and policymaking in the UK will return once Brexit is no longer a contentious issue, however that is achieved,’ Moody’s said in a strongly-worded statement.
Moody’s said Britain’s 1.8 trillion pounds ($2.30 trillion) of public debt – more than 80% of annual economic output – risked rising again and the economy could be ‘more susceptible to shocks than previously assumed.’
Chancellor Sajid Javid went on the attack on Sunday though, saying that the only way to remove the uncertainty was to elect the Tories on December 12.
‘The number one thing they point to is this paralysis in decision making, and that is coming from what was a very dysfunctional parliament,’ Mr Javid said when asked about the Moody’s report.
He also attacked the Labour Party’s ‘reckless’ spending plans that he said would trigger an economic crisis within months, citing a dossier published by the Conservatives.
Labour strongly dismissed the report, which said it would increase spending by 1.2 trillion pounds ($1.5 trillion) over the next five years, calling it fake news.
The future path of Britain’s economy, the world’s fifth largest, has been at the centre of the election campaign in recent days, with both parties pledging higher spending, but arguing over the scale of investment needed and how to pay for it.
‘These are eye-watering levels of spending – 1.2 trillion (pounds) – it will be absolutely reckless and will leave this country with an economic crisis within months,’ Javid told the BBC on Sunday.
Chancellor Sajid Javid went on the attack on Sunday though, saying that the only way to remove the uncertainty was to elect the Tories on December 12
The Conservatives, led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and currently ahead in opinion polls, said the figure was based on Labour’s manifesto for the 2017 election and estimates of more recent policy pledges.
But Mr Javid refused to put a price tag on his own party’s plan for government, saying it would fully account for new spending when the party manifesto is published. Labour has also pledged to explain how it would pay for its programme for government.
‘This ludicrous piece of Tory fake news is an incompetent mish-mash of debunked estimates and bad maths cooked up because they know Labour´s plans for real change are popular,’ said Labour’s would-be finance minister, John McDonnell.
However, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn makes no secret of its desire to increase the role of the state.
‘Labour will tax the rich to pay for things everyone needs and deserves, like decent housing, healthcare and support for our children,’ Mr McDonnell said.
In a separate interview for the Sunday’s Independent he said the party’s manifesto would be ‘the most radical ever’ and include a pilot programme for a universal basic income.
‘Labour will tax the rich to pay for things everyone needs and deserves, like decent housing, healthcare and support for our children,’ McDonnell said on Sunday (pictured with Mr Corbyn on November 7 in Liverpool)
The Conservatives currently enjoy a sizeable lead in opinion polls over Labour at the start of election campaigning.
Separate polls for the Mail on Sunday and Observer both put the Conservatives on 41% support and Labour on 29%, while a Sunday Times poll put the Conservatives on 39% and Labour on 26%.
Both Mr Javid and Mr McDonnell unveiled significant spending plans last week, reflecting a desire to win over voters after nine years of cutbacks under Conservative-led governments.
Britain’s public debt currently stands at around 1.8 trillion pounds, more than 80% of economic output – though below equivalent amounts in the United States, Japan and France.
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