A 2015 post on this blog looked at economic performance under Labour and Tory Governments and concluded that there wasn’t much difference overall, but that Labour distributed the gains of economic growth more equitably and was a better custodian of public services. This post provides a partial update focusing on economic growth.
I compared UK economic growth with the average of all of the wealthy countries that are members of the OECD using data on the World Bank web site accessed on 11th March 2023. This reveals:-
I. The UK has been falling behind the average of OECD countries for most of the last 60 years. The average OECD country had a GDP that was nearly six times larger in 2021 than in 1960 whereas UK GDP had increased less than fourfold ( OECD average 588% of 1960 level, UK just 388%).
2. The UK economy did keep pace with the average of the OECD countries over the period from 1992-2010, the improvement having started under the Conservatives from about 1993 but being maintained under Labour from 1997-2010, with the financial crisis of 2008 resulting in only a modest dip in relative performance. The performance under Labour is all the more impressive because improvements in economic growth were successfully used to reduce poverty and improve public services.
3. The period of conservative Government since 2010 has seen a return to relative decline. The UK economy was only 10% larger in 2021 than in 2010, whereas the rich countries as a group had grown by 20% – twice as much.
4. As documented in other posts on this blog, the Tory Government has not only performed poorly on economic growth. It has also presided over a collapse in the quality and availability of public services, and a massive increase in poverty and inequality, while it’s BREXIT policies have significantly increased the difficulty and cost of investing in and trading with the UK, reducing our future growth potential.