I’ve had quite a correspondence from a number of regular remailers, carping about the Brexit anniversary and citing the gloomy forecast from the IMF.
Let’s take the IMF first. Like most forecasts, they are rarely accurate. The IMF has consistently underestimated UK economic performance. Sometimes they have been spectacularly wrong, not least when they warned George Osborne that his policy would deliver mass unemployment, when on the contrary, we delivered record levels of employment.
When it comes to dealing with a forecast like the IMF, it is always worth reading all of it, rather than relying on a few nuggets that headline writers have extracted to suit their own purposes.
On the morning of the forecast’s publication, the newscasts made it sound like the UK was facing oblivion. But what the report actually reveals, together with its accompanying commentary, is that the IMF thinks that the UK is “on the right track’”; that we had done well in the last year, with growth revised upwards to 4.1%, which is one of the highest growth rates in Europe for 2022.
As for the depression about the Brexit anniversary, since the European Union referendum, the UK economy has grown at about the same rate as Germany, and our cumulative growth over the 2022 to 2024 period is predicted to be higher than that of both Germany and Japan, at a similar rate to that of the United States of America.
We are not immune to the inflationary and supply-side consequences of the war in Ukraine but the Governor of the Bank of England has said that any UK recession this year is likely to be shallower than previously predicted: Comparatively, we are weathering the storm pretty well.
The Economic benefits of Brexit were all bound to have their impact in the long run. They are the consequence of regulatory freedom that allows us to suit ourselves and play to our comparative advantages, rather than be bound to the collective interests of the EU. But making use of the regulatory freedom to change our way of doing things requires the dedication and courage of the Government to implement that change, only then, and after time to bed them in, will we see the results. Alas, we lost two years to the overwhelming agenda of addressing Covid-19. Now however, when the Government does have the will to proceed and has introduced its Regulatory Freedoms Bill, I find that I’m inundated with an email campaign not to proceed with the Bill.
You can’t have it both ways. Complaining on the one hand, that we haven’t seen the economic benefits of Brexit. Whilst, on the other hand, demanding that we desist from implementing the changes that will deliver those benefits.
The reality is that they don’t want us to move out of the EU’s regulatory orbit, because ultimately, they want us to re-join it.
We already have the best benefit of Brexit is: we are no longer told what to do by people that we did not elect, and whom are unable to remove.