Yet more confusion over the economy

October 2, 2012

Landlords Insurance

The BBC is reporting* that there is yet more confusion over the true state of the UK economy.

This time the problem arises from the British Chambers of Commerce, who are essentially insisting that the government’s figures (as issued by The Office of National Statistics) are, to put it simply, wrong.

According to the BCC, the UK economy has not contracted this year but has in fact grown.  This flatly contradicts the ONS figures, which show that the economy has been contracting for the last nine months.

This has led many business people and landlords in general, to have to choose which set of interpretations to believe in order to gain any view as to the true nature of the economy at the present time.

For several months now, official bodies seem to have been struggling to work out an objective view of the true state of the UK economy.  The ONS has been consistently publishing fairly gloomy summaries showing, at best, flat-lining and more commonly on-going recession.

Yet other critical key indicators appear not to be supporting this view.

Firstly, for several consecutive months now the unemployment figures have been improving.  This is extremely rare if not completely unheard of against a backdrop of a supposedly contracting economy.  The second indicator is one or two unexpected increases in retail spending – once again, something that is typically not seen in the depths of a recession.

Although one might normally incline to believe that the ONS may be working on rather broader-based data than the BCC, the above indicators plus one or two others like them, are starting to call into question their interpretation of the reality of life.

This debate is also fuelling yet again concerns about the reporting of the economy and perhaps news in general. Every positive economic indicator over recent months has been dismissed by the media as being nothing but a blip or a meaningless statistical anomaly.

Some people are questioning just how many of these statistical blips and anomalies are required before the media will start to consider them as, albeit very tentative, signs that things might just be improving.

A good example is the fact that some of the recent positive economic news has been almost contemptuously shrugged off in some news reporting as merely a bounce due to the Olympics.

Surely the Olympics were seen from day one, in part, as being an opportunity to generate economic benefit for the UK as a whole?  Why, therefore, is this benefit now being dismissed as being largely unlikely or irrelevant?

Landlords will continue to keep a tight rein on costs and hunt around for bargains through things such as their landlords insurance quote etc.

Yet they might start to feel at least a little bit more positive if they had confidence that things were getting better and official figures could actually be believed as being accurate.




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