That Blair supporting rag, the Sun, has launched an attack today on Gordon Brown for his mis-handling of the economy predicting massive unemployment, business failures, house repossessions on a huge scale and a house price crash etc etc. While all the economic info is basically correct and we are facing a recession I can't help suspecting that this article was cooked up in league with that malodorous piece of shite Alastair Campbell and/or slimy Peter Mandelsson in order to spike Browns guns in the forthcoming leadership challenge :
It's the Brown stuff Gord
Boxed in? ... Gordon Brown faces a shaky economy
By IAN KING
CHANCELLOR Gordon Brown was the hero of Labour's General Election
Prime Minister Tony Blair's gushing praise credited him with creating
eight years of unbroken economic growth.
But the dark clouds are gathering - and they point to stormy times
High Street sales in April were down by almost five per cent on the
same period in 2004 - the biggest year-on-year fall since records
began a decade ago.
Unemployment is also rising. In December, January and February, 29,000
people lost their jobs, lifting the jobless total to 1.43million.
Since then, MG Rover has gone bust, putting another 6,000 people on the
dole and potentially hitting 15,000 people working for suppliers to the
Telecoms equipment maker Marconi last week announced plans to lay off
800 staff, while computer giant IBM said it was axing 13,000 jobs in
Europe - many of which will be in Britain.
And yesterday it emerged another 1,000 jobs are to go at Abbey
But unemployment is not the only sign that the UK economy is souring.
House repossessions are at their highest level for ten years with
25,900 orders going through the courts in January, February and March
- 25 per cent up on this time last year and the highest since 1995.
On Friday, there was more bad news. We already knew that, as a nation,
we Brits owe a staggering £1TRILLION in mortgage borrowing, credit
cards, bank overdrafts and so on.
This is now coming home to roost. In the first three months of this
year, 13,229 people declared themselves insolvent - the highest
figure since records began in the 1960s.
Consumers, worried about their debts, have been hit with FIVE
interest-rate rises since November 2003, rocketing council tax bills
and National Insurance hikes.
Now they are seeing household bills soar - with inflation at its
highest level since May 1998 due to increases in the cost of food,
petrol and air fares.
Utility bills are also climbing, following a surge in oil prices.
The result of all this, unsurprisingly, has been a collapse in
household spending - and the High Street is screaming in agony.
But it will get worse as council tax re-banding pushes up bills for
Hundreds of thousands of homeowners who locked into cheap mortgages two
years ago when interest rates were at all-time lows will see those
deals unwind, ramping up mortgage bills.
That means shops will suffer further, particularly if unemployment
continues to grow.
James Carrick, economist at City stockbroker ABN Amro, believes we
could see one in 20 stores close in the next three years, "resulting
in 150,000 shop-workers losing their jobs".
In all, he reckons total unemployment will rise by HALF A MILLION by
And there are other reasons why dole queues are set to lengthen.
Profits are being squeezed as businesses are forced to pour more cash
into their pension schemes, partly to make up the £5billion the
Chancellor has plundered from every year since 1997.
Companies are also reeling from the NI hike as well as from rises in
local business rates, higher payroll costs from the minimum wage plus
higher heating, lighting and transport bills after oil-price growth.
Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy recently complained: "Like a
tide, the level of taxes seems to be forever rising. The water is now
above our waist."
With the UK economy growing less rapidly than Mr Brown predicted, he
will rake in less from income tax, NI, VAT and corporation tax than he
expected. And that means he will have less to spend.
Mr Brown has saturated business with higher taxes already, so personal
taxes will probably have to go up instead.
Pensions loom large as another threat while one more imponderable is
the housing market.
Stuart Thomson, of broker Charles Stanley Sutherlands, claims:
"Property prices are more than 30 per cent over-valued relative to
their long-term trend."
The whole situation amounts to a nasty headache for Mr Brown in the
And if the housing market cracks, it will feel more like a stroke.
- posted 15 years ago