Cheer up everyone – British economy powers on despite Brexit, says TIM NEWARK | Express Comment | Comment


The only thing that could mess this up is if the Bank of England cuts interest rates because it fears Brexit “chaos”. The last time it did that was immediately after the 2016 vote when the pound tumbled and inflation rose. Bank of England Governor Mark Carney’s dire predictions of economic turmoil proved worthless. Again and again, our failing politicians give too much weight to imagined concerns and experts forecasting catastrophe, when in the real world ordinary Britons are still working hard, earning and spending money so the wheels of the economy keep on turning.

Only the pro-EU Bank of England could explain the uplift in retail sales in February by saying it might be due to stockpiling supplies in case of a no-deal Brexit. Get a grip!

It’s more likely the result of employment jumping by more than 200,000 to 32.7 million people in work, the highest since records began in 1971.

Unemployment was down to 3.9 per cent of the population, its lowest since 1975 when Abba dominated the music charts and David Bowie sang Golden Years.

So, as a result of this surge in jobs, wages are rising after years of stagnation, giving people more money to spend in shops. Could it be that we are already seeing a Brexit boost as fewer EU jobseekers come to the UK? 

When former Labour prime minister Tony Blair opened the gates to millions of impoverished eastern Europeans in 2004, he turned the UK into a cheap-labour, low-skilled economy. Some trade unionists say this was no mistake but a determined plot to create a US-style immigrant-powered economy.

“Most of those people got worse jobs in the service sector,” says John Edmonds, former head of the GMB, “not just in pay, but in terms of security and job opportunity.” It was part of Blair’s plan to crush the trade unions, Edmonds told me. 

It’s little wonder Labour’s traditional supporters are not so keen on Mr Blair’s relentless cheerleading for the EU. Now that we are turning the tap off on that flood of cheap labour, better-paid jobs are returning.

The only downside to our economy is faltering business confidence. The Bank of England notes a decline of between six and 14 per cent in corporate investment. That is thanks directly to the mess politicians are making of Brexit. 

It is utterly outrageous that the Government has encouraged the vision of a nightmare no-deal scenario to bully MPs into backing the PM’s lacklustre plan. 

Instead, the machinery of government should have been deployed to demonstrate how we can thrive outside the EU and that realisation would have put real pressure on the EU to improve their negotiating flexibility.

Instead, our political leaders have been complicit with EU bureaucrats who want to punish us by ramping up the prospect of a disastrous no-deal Brexit. It is that non-stop pessimistic talk of “crashing out” that has directly impacted on business confidence. 

Real jobs and real investment is being put at risk thanks to reckless, nonsensical threats of Brexit disaster just to shift the views of a few politicians.

What a shameful attitude to what should be a joyful, positive opportunity to reshape our economy free of EU interference. 

The real fear is that continued indecision and failure to deliver Brexit by the Tories could result in fed-up voters giving a Marxist Labour party the keys to 10 Downing Street.

Despite all this and no doubt much to the amazement of the Bank of England their most recent survey shows that 80 per cent of businesses are ready for a no-deal Brexit. 

It seems our businessmen and women are made of much sterner stuff than our politicians.

If only our leaders could finalise Brexit sooner rather than later, then they could devote themselves to helping not hindering our economic growth that is clearly forging ahead despite their gloom.

That should include reforming our business rates system so that high-street traders stand a better chance of surviving in a new internet-dominated age.

Otherwise, by the time we are finally free of the EU and our economy is booming even more than it is now, there won’t be any shops left for our betterpaid, busy workers to spend their money in.


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