Magazine article Public Finance

Numbers Game

Magazine article Public Finance

Numbers Game

Article excerpt

The coalition government has come under further pressure to boost growth as the Office for National Statistics confirmed that the economy is experiencing its first double-dip recession since 1975.

Gross domestic product fell by 0.3% in the first quarter of this year, following a contraction of 0.3% in the last three months of 2011. Two quarters of negative growth means that the UK is officially in a recession, three years after the last one in 2009.

The International Monetary Fund suggested the Bank of England should consider more quantitative easing and even cutting interest rates below the current level of 0.5%.

Christine Lagarde, the IMF's managing director, highlighted the stresses on the UK's economy from the turmoil in the eurozone. 'Growth is too slow and unemployment is too high,' she added.

UK jobless figures did actually show a welcome fall of 45,000 to 2,625,000 in the first quarter, but long-term unemployment was the highest since 1996. The number of people working part-time because they couldn't find a full-time job also hit a level not seen since records began in 1992. …

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