Magazine article Public Finance

Numbers Game

Magazine article Public Finance

Numbers Game

Article excerpt

PF's monthly roundup of statistics covering the public finances, economic growth, unemployment and much more

Is the UK economy about to experience a period of stagflation unseen since the oil shocks of the 1970s?

Many economists now think so. Official statistics show inflation and unemployment on the rise. Conversely, growth has ventured back into negative territory producing fears of a double-dip recession.

The Consumer Prices Index reached 4.0% in January and die Retail Prices Index stood at 5.1%. Meanwhile, unemployment rose to 2,492,000 for the three months to December 2010.

And, of course, the UK economy shrunk by 0.5% in Q4 2010. Bad weather was blamed by the government, but public spending cuts must also have been a factor.

A survey of chief finance officers by CIPFA offered little cheer for those hoping to see an economic recovery. Aside from the usual suspects for public sector cuts (Libraries, back-office functions and parks), CFOs suggested that economic development and regeneration would be hit. …

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