From the TUC

It gets worse: Osborne’s ‘recovery’ is twice as slow as the slowest recovery on record

08 Feb 2015, by in Economics

Looking at GDP per head, the UK economy grew by 5% between 2009 and 2014. Previously, the slowest recovery on a per head basis was from 1886 to 1901, when the economy grew by 10%: twice as fast.

The average recovery speed over five years for previous major recessions is 13.7%, pretty much three times as fast as the present ‘recovery’.

Strikingly, in the recovery from the great depression, GDP per head grew by 21%, an annual rate of 4% against Osborne’s 1%.

Indices of GDP per head over economic recoveries from the 1830s to today:


The figures update the previous post on GDP recoveries onto a per head basis as suggested by Howard Reed. ONS population data extent on an annual basis for the UK to 1851 (here), and for England and Wales to 1838 (here; which were used for the 1842 recovery). I have projected population growth of 0.66% into 2014 on the basis of the 2012 population projections. Note that two of the recoveries start a year later on a per head basis (1886 and 1932).

What factor can possibly explain why any recovery today must be so much slower than all others, no least given the vast technological gains and apparent wider economic advance over these two centuries? The figures demand serious questions of the strategy of the government and other policymakers.

4 Responses to It gets worse: Osborne’s ‘recovery’ is twice as slow as the slowest recovery on record

  1. Jason Steerment
    Feb 8th 2015, 11:50 am

    I believe the fault lies with Private Landlords, supermarkets, petrol suppliers and a number of other “Black Hole” companies and services, I say black hole companies because if you look at how much money they are stripping out of peoples pockets compared to how much they put back into the geographic areas in which they are operating, it is clearly nothing more than a form of pyramid scheme economics leading to less money in people pockets, which in turn is strangling growth in other areas of the economy.

    It’s time we dragged certain people in societies heads out of the clouds with their unrealistic ideological free market, capitalist views, because they are currently robbing whole generations of their lives and destroying millions of peoples futures.
    We only need to do the maths to realise where the biggest problems lay.
    A single person working 40 hours a week on minimum wage gets £11,905 a year take home after tax, national insurance and pension, that’s if they can even get 40 hours a week? now that zero hours contracts are the order of the day.

    Rent for a one bed flat is about £625 upwards a month here in the south, so as an average let’s do the maths:
    -£7500 a year for rent
    -£1750 a year for gas and electric
    -£420 a year for water and sewerage
    -£792 a year for single persons council tax
    -£100 contents insurance as specified as compulsory in most tenancy contacts.

    That leaves £1343 left free to spend for the whole year!

    that’s only £25.82 a week….
    To run a car to get to work, to pay for food, to cloth yourself, to pay for prescriptions, to live a happy life? Pay for education to better your situation? To build a future? To save for a deposit for a secure home to raise a family? To put away a nest egg for retirement?…

    Not to mention the cost to tax payers who have to subsidies this situation that we now have.

    We as a society all wish to do better for our kids than we had growing up, but things are that bad now that we cant even afford to give them decent secure homes… never mind a holiday somewhere nice once in a while, or affording some of the nicer things in life. 
    And in the meantime most of us have to watch as these people at the top spend our hard earned money investing in even more instruments to enable them to strip even more money out of our pockets and artificially inflate prices such is the case with the property market.

  2. Andrew Curry
    Feb 8th 2015, 3:50 pm

    That’s the average (mean) figure. I suspect the median will look worse, given that inequality has also increased in that time.

  3. John
    Feb 9th 2015, 4:54 am

    Thankyou for the article Geoff Tily & the two comments so far. With what Jason Steerment has commented, he spells out for me that you do not need Economics, Finance or Accounting degrees to be able to realise what poverty is on a so called minimum wage. If you are not even on that then benefits are absolutely essential, but this tory party do not give a damn.

  4. postkey
    Feb 9th 2015, 9:27 am

    “But, on the same basis, the recent recovery has actually been slightly faster than during Thatcher’s hey-day.”