UK consumers have given the best possible answer to all the experts, media pundits and BBC guests invited on to show after show daily since the Brexit vote to talk the UK economy down. We have gone out and shopped for Britain, buying things made here, enjoying services provided by UK businesses, and creating jobs galore in the process. As producers the UK has worked harder and produced more to meet the demand.
I do hand it to all the run down merchants. They are clever and persistent. If at first they don’t succeed – and they didn’t – they try again. Here are some of their favourite scares:
1. Consumer confidence will be badly hit by the Brexit vote, so sales will fall, leading to job losses and further sales declines as people lose income.(result – record levels of spending growth)
2. Companies confidence will be badly hit by the Brexit vote, so they will put off investment. This in turn will mean fewer jobs, hitting incomes, and will of itself slash the growth rate. (Result Many good examples of major new investments being committed to UK)
3. Foreign investors will be put off coming here, so inward investment will be badly damaged (Tell that to Google, Wells Fargo, Tata etc)
4. The pound will go down (well they did get one right!) This will boost prices, which will slash real incomes, which will cut consumption which will lead to a recession.(that hasn’t happened)
5. People will stop buying new homes, so there will be price falls and a cut in new homes built .(Instead people went out and bought more new homes, and housebuilders are stepping up output by double figure percentages)
6. Commercial property values will tumble, undermining the construction industry and reducing landlord incomes (Instead commercial property values pretty stable with rents increasing and good flow of new developments and lettings)
7. Some big companies will take their business elsewhere. (Name them)
Everyone of these forecasts save the fall in the pound have been proved wrong in 2016. The original forecasts were for early disasters on the back of the immediate shock of the vote. Now they are regrouping and saying this all might happen later – say after Article 50 is triggered. Why?
It is wicked that some want to talk the pound down to spark the inflation that they think will result in the recession they forecast. It is bad that some want to talk large companies out of investing here to prove themselves right, despite the evidence of their own eyes that the UK is a large and growing market in need of more capacity to supply more goods and services at home.
No wonder experts were given a tough time in the referendum. To many of them look as if they bent their views and estimates to their political views, and now look like bad losers.