Before the referendum campaign Remain advocates told us the uncertainty generated by the referendum vote would hit our economy. It didn’t. During the referendum campaign proper, the Remain campaign aided by the Treasury and the Bank of England, the IMF and many investment banks, told us the economy would be badly damaged by the vote if it went the “wrong” way. They said there would be short term damage from the shock to confidence. There wasn’t.
So what are these unsuccessful forecasters saying now? Some of them are busily revising up their forecasts for 2016-17 for the UK, though still believing there will be a slowdown. Most have cancelled any thoughts of recession. Now they tell us what they meant all along was it would be the sending of the Article 50 letter that brings on the bad news.
Why so? Surely markets have discounted the sending of the letter by now, as the government has made clear it does intend to implement the views of the people, just as the previous government made it clear it was the duty of Parliament and government to carry out the decision of the voters. Why is sending a letter more of a shock than the UK voters deciding?
I guess they will go on telling us there is some new milestone in our exit which will trigger the bad news they forecast and seem to crave. If you wait long enough there might be bad news for some unrelated reason which they could doubtless cling on to. Over the last week, for example, government borrowing rates have risen sharply here as elsewhere in the world. They are still below pre referendum levels, and they have risen because of remarks of the Fed and the Bank of Japan. The Fed is likely to have more impact on our economic future than the Brexit vote this year and into next.
Yesterday saw more good economic news. Employment continued to increase in July after the vote. Employment now stands at a new high of 74.5% of the possible workforce. There are 750,000 vacancies available, with 31.77 million people in work. There are no signs of the threatened job losses that would follow a vote to leave.