World Economy

Brits Pessimistic Over Growth Prospects

Brits Pessimistic Over Growth ProspectsBrits Pessimistic Over Growth Prospects

The national mood has changed completely since David Cameron won his second term on a wave of optimism, and has hit the lowest ebb since April 2013 when the country narrowly avoided a double-dip recession.

One economist Wednesday cautioned against the danger of Britons “talking ourselves into a downturn”, as GDP figures for the final three months of last year to be released tomorrow are expected to confirm growth was more modest in 2015 than in 2014, NewsNow reported.

Pollsters Ipsos MORI found the proportion of people who believe things will get worse in the year ahead has surged from just 17% during the election campaign in April 2015 to 39% now.

Over the same time, the number who think, things will get better, plummeted from 43% to just 26%.

Women are more pessimistic than men, and renters are gloomier than homeowners. Optimism was higher among better-off people and those in the private sector.

The gloom follows months of jitters about the Chinese economy, the Middle East, terrorism and lurching commodity prices.

Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist for IHS Global Insight, said people were probably reacting to a mixture of bad news reports and pressures on their own family budgets. “Overall consumer spending has held up well but there are signs that earnings growth has slowed,” he said. “I still think the economy is in reasonable shape. There’s always the danger that you can talk yourself into a downturn.”

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said the change of mood was “deeply concerning” and “there is clearly no space for complacency from George Osborne”.

Gideon Skinner of Ipsos MORI said: “From the summer of 2013 to the aftermath of last year’s election, Britons were more hopeful than worried about the economy, and that clearly played a key part in the Conservative victory” but 2016 was starting “in a much more pessimistic position.”