Magazine article Public Finance

Numbers Game

Magazine article Public Finance

Numbers Game

Article excerpt

George Osborne will do well to find some good financial news when he delivers his second Autumn Statement in Parliament on November 29.

The chancellor is bedevilled by an economy exhibiting low growth, dangerous debt levels, rising unemployment and soaring inflation Events in the eurozone aren't helping, with the sovereign debt crisis further undermining UK business confidence.

The figures make stark reading. Unemployment increased by 114,000 over the three months to August 2011 and now stands at 2,566,000. Meanwhile, RPI inflation reached 5.6% in September, a 20-year record, and CPI inflation hit 52%, its highest since the measure was introduced in 1997.

Two leading economic forecasters - Ernst & Young's Item Club and the Centre for Economics and Business Research - claimed that growth will take some time to recover.

The CEBR is the most pessimistic, predicting that GDP will expand by only 0.6% this year and 0.7% next year. In the Item Club's opinion, growth will be 0. …

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