COLUMN: MP Matt Western talks recession - The Leamington Observer

COLUMN: MP Matt Western talks recession

Leamington Editorial 22nd Feb, 2024   0

LAST week, it was announced that the economy fell into recession at the end of 2023. I know this news will concern many people across our towns and villages as they try and establish what this means for the already hard-pressed budgets of so many households.

Despite this confirmation of a recession, the truth is that so many people did not need the news that the UK is now in a recession to tell them that the economy is not working for them: they could already see it. We can all see it. Our high streets with empty shop fronts, families struggling to feed themselves and heat their homes amid a dreadful cost of living crisis and crumbling public services.

The UK is said to be in recession if GDP falls for two successive quarters. Between July and September 2023, the economy shrank by 0.1 per cent and between October and December, a larger fall was seen as it shrank by 0.3 per cent in the period.

This means we have not seen any growth in the economy for over six months. According to the Office for National Statistics, growth over all over 2023 was estimated to be just 0.1 per cent, the weakest year in over a decade, excluding during the covid pandemic in 2020.

The prime minister made five pledges at the start of 2023. He promised to halve inflation, reduce debt, cut waiting lists, stop the boats and grow the economy. Just over a year from his promise to grow the economy, we enter a recession. It would be laughable if there weren’t such grave consequences for our country. His promise to grow the economy is in tatters.

We are told repeatedly by the prime minister and the chancellor that we have ‘turned a corner’ on the economy. It’s simply not true. The prime minister must take responsibility for the dire situation the UK economy is in. He was chancellor for over two years and has been prime minister for well over a year. Our economy is now smaller than when Rishi Sunak entered 10 Downing Street back in 2022. The reality is that this is Rishi’s recession.

It does not have to be like this. If the economy had grown at the average rate of other OECD economies over the past decade, it would now be £140 billion larger – equivalent to £5,000 per household every year. This would also mean an additional £50billion in tax revenues to invest in our public services.

We all deserve so much better than this. I visit foodbanks across the constituency and see the massive queues they have lining up. I speak to constituents who are waiting months and months for NHS treatment. I hear from residents that the risk of their upcoming mortgage increase is beyond worrying for them, desperately concerned they may lose their home. These stories aren’t one offs. They’re the horrible reality for so many people in our towns and villages and up and down the country.

I will continue to raise in parliament the reality that so many people are living through in our towns and villages. As always, please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any issues or concerns you would like to raise with me. I can be reached on [email protected] or on 01926 882006.

Matt Western

MP for Warwick and Leamington


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