This week has seen record levels of employment, continuing good jobs growth numbers, and rising real wages. Yesterday the deficit figures showed it continuing to fall. Spending is under reasonable control, whilst tax revenues carry on rising. In the second quarter of 2016 the deficit was down by £2.3bn compared to the same quarter last year. Spending was up by 1.3% overall, including a large rise in capital investment. Revenue was up by more than 3%. This news was mainly pre the vote, when there was some slowdown of activity here in the UK and elsewhere in the EU.
April saw a large jump in Stamp Duty Land tax as people brought property just before the deadline for higher Stamp duties to come in on buy to let purchasers. National Insurance receipts are well up reflecting the good rate of new jobs growth. There are no Petroleum Revenue Tax receipts, given the decline in Scottish oil output and the new lower price of oil.
Retail sales rose 1.6% in Quarter 2, after a rise of 1.2% in Quarter One of 2016. A number of important property deals have been signed since the Brexit vote, including Wells Fargo announcing its intention to spend £300 m on a new office headquarters in the City. This followed hard on the heels of the purchase of the Debenhams store on Oxford Street post the vote for £400 m on a low yield.
The immediate fears of collapse and a big loss of confidence have proved misplaced. The IMF was forced to make a major revision to its forecasts, removing any sign of a UK recession post the referendum. The IMF now thinks the UK will be the second fastest growing advanced economy next year after the USA. This compared with their pre vote special forecast of a UK recession in 2017, with plunging share and house prices. What a difference a month makes! What a pity the IMF has become such an unreliable and erratic forecaster, meddling in member states politics.