If the economy is in recovery, why does it still feel like recession?

Path to prosperity? If the economy has been growing for the last nine months, why has food bank use tripled during the last year?

Path to prosperity? If the economy has been growing for the last nine months, why has food bank use almost tripled during the last year?

No doubt Gideon George Osborne will spend the next few days (if not weeks and months) crowing about the figures from the Office for National Statistics that say the British economy has grown for a third successive quarter.

He has already tweeted, “This shows that Britain’s hard work is paying off & the country is on the path to prosperity.”

The construction industry has grown by 2.5 per cent on the previous quarter, with house builders buoyed up by Gideon’s Help to Buy scheme, which offers (unsupported) mortgage guarantees to buyers and lenders. He has promised to divert £12 million to this, but has not said where he will find the money.

Critics have warned that this is simply creating another housing-fuelled debt bubble that will burst in a couple of years’ time, leaving even more people in debt than after the financial crisis hit us all.

Has this growth generated work for electricians, plumbers, plasterers, roofers? If so, are they being paid fairly? These are the people who will take their disposable income back into the wider economy, for the benefit of other businesses.

Production (including manufacturing) and services are both on the up as well. The BBC report says nothing about retail. But if this good news is true, why is the Department for Work and Pensions determined to expand its Workfare scheme, as laid out in a Conservative conference announcement and by an article reblogged here.

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls welcomed the signs of growth in the ONS report but warned: “For millions of people across the country still seeing prices rising faster than their wages, this is no recovery at all.”

He is right, of course. Look at the rise and rise of food banks, which have seen a massive rise in attendances from even working people – whose wages simply don’t cover the cost of living. Benefits are, of course, being cut back by our “compassionate” Conservative-led government.

They say there’s no money for it but – if the economy is surging back into growth – where are all the tax receipts from the big corporates that are profiting?

Oh yes – they’re safely closeted in the tax havens that Mr Osborne kindly opened up for them. Ordinary, working, and poor people have to use their own limited funds to pay off a Conservative-run national deficit, presumably because Tories think the rich, who caused the problem, shouldn’t have to pay for services they don’t use.

And the Institute of Directors’ chief economist, Graeme Leach, warned that there are “strong headwinds” restricting the possibility of further growth, including “debt and inflation” which are “rising faster than earnings”.

That’s right. Only yesterday, Yr Obdt Srvt was talking with a gentleman who – despite having a full-time job – has fallen so severely into debt that he has had to cut his expenditure down to nothing but taxes, the vital utility bills (water but not heating), and rent. He has no budget for food and faces the possibility of having his belongings, such as his car, repossessed – and even eviction.

Is he on the path to prosperity, Mr Osborne? Of course not. This report is merely further proof that you were lying when you said, “We’re all in it together” – as you did (again) at the Conservative conference.

It’s prosperity for the greedy few, and austerity for the rest of us.

Maybe you have a different opinion, but ask any average worker on the street and they will tell you that continued wage depression and price inflation, the expansion of the Workfare regime that gives free employment to firms that don’t need it while the workers themselves have to survive on benefits, massive growth in food bank use, and the threat faced by thousands of eviction and the repossession of their belongings are not milestones on the path to prosperity.


  1. Ian Cropper October 25, 2013 at 11:55 am - Reply

    I also noticed the lack of a mention about retail. Overall though I think that people need to understand that the old measures need to be reviewed, overhauled and changed to reflect the new global economy. Unemployment figures are meaningless if they don’t take into account zero hours, part-time and low pay. Recovery needs to look at the distribution of wealth, particularly on a geographical basis.
    One of the key things was that the energy companies did not fare so well. This was.because people cut their use down, ostensibly due to milder weather, but what will happen when people cut down because of not being able to afford it? Will energy companies put prices up to compensate?

  2. Sorcha October 25, 2013 at 12:14 pm - Reply

    Of course they will! They want to maintain their profit margins. I think its laughable. Instead of battening down the hatches and taking less net profit, corporations still seek to increase their profit margins during a recession! The energy companies will only do the same thing, ever hiking of prices whilst the poorest buy an incinerator bin and go raid the local woodland to keep warm.

  3. jed goodright October 25, 2013 at 12:24 pm - Reply

    Oh come on Mike, it’s not that bad ……..they haven’t taxed the air that we breathe………..

  4. Florence October 25, 2013 at 12:59 pm - Reply

    This country is a long. long way from any form of meaningful recovery. Food producers and retailers have made swingeing price rises. This week’s shocker £3 for a packet of Shredded Wheat, and some use Workfare for free labour to increase those profits further.

    The cost of essentials are now beyond a normal family budget, especially those on the ever vanishing benefits. The cheapest food is the worst nutritionally, This was why the school dinner was mandated to provide a third of a child’s daily needs, plus school milk, to provide strong healthy working class kids (for army & factory fodder, but it was better than starving). Both taken away by Thatcher & her thugs first time round.

    The shocking fact that 40% of school children now show some signs of Vit D deficiency, and full blown rickets is making a come back, just as VP predicted before, is an appalling back-slide in the welfare of us all.

    Now it seems the majority working class will encounter some form of mandatory workfare, through UC conditionality, or the latest scourge of mandatory Workfare Tenancies, or mandatory workfare for benefits. Some of these are illegal but having removed Legal Aid from those who will suffer most, there is no access to justice. They aim to create an underclass from which there is no escape, no rest, not even after a full week’s work, without additional slave labour, just to put some food on the table – and still have our kids suffer malnutrition. Too hungry to riot? Idiots. I’m off to join our local, very active, Red Cross.

  5. […] No doubt Gideon George Osborne will spend the next few days (if not weeks and months) crowing about the figures from the Office for National Statistics that say the British economy has grown for a …  […]

  6. jeffrey davies October 25, 2013 at 3:05 pm - Reply

    yes he put another fiddler in the bank just like him

  7. thepositivevoice October 25, 2013 at 7:50 pm - Reply

    Reblogged this on thepositivevoice.

  8. Nigel Wootton October 25, 2013 at 8:35 pm - Reply

    The economy needs a 2% annual GDP growth rate, at minimum. The last two quarter’s figures of .07 and 0.8% are nothing for Tax dodger Osborne to crow about. People’s wages and incomes are falling and being cut, so the economy is being strangled by falling consumer demand. Only the rich are buoyant, while the rest suffer the pinch from the ConDem government’s ideological and unnecessary cuts.

    • Mike Sivier October 25, 2013 at 8:39 pm - Reply

      I’m interested by the two per cent figure. How do we come to that?

  9. dnmufc October 26, 2013 at 12:09 pm - Reply

    Reblogged this on Dnmufc's Blog.

  10. A6er July 25, 2014 at 5:14 pm - Reply

    Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating and commented:
    After todays news by George Osborne that the recession is finally over (he’s got to be kidding!), I thought this post by written by Mike in October last year, is still more than relative today.
    Courtesy of Mike from Vox Political

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