In some government circles, the excitement before Britain’s opening-up and return to something like normality is making ministers giddy.
Grant Shapps says everyone may start booking a foreign holiday. Especially now that he is at work revamping last year’s color-coded map of the world.
UK’s Rapid Economic Growth
With a traffic-light system of testing and quarantine rules in place, nowhere will likely be out of bounds for Britons to visit.
Inside No 10, last year’s recession is forgotten, and the possibilities during the second half of the year are considered to be almost boundless.
Just the thought of public gatherings and nights at the theatre has allowed the prime minister to relax back into his pie-and-a-pint bonhomie.
This is setting aside the accusations of bungling and lying so eloquently laid out in Peter Oborne’s book The Assault on Truth.
Or the way Brexit seems to be hastening the breakup of Britain’s union of nations.
Faster Expansion for the UK
In recent weeks, every forecast of economic growth has acquired a healthier glow.
Last week, the International Monetary Fund added its voice to those saying the global economy – and the UK’s in particular – would enjoy a broader and faster expansion than previously estimated.
The UK is expected to grow by 5.3% in 2021 and by 5.1% in 2022.
Thus making it the fastest-growing G7 country at the end of the forecast period.
Senior figures at the Bank of England have fueled the prime minister’s sense that a period of unalloyed jollity, singing, and dancing is within sight by using phrases such as “coiled spring.”
This is to describe the strength of the bounce-back.
Investment bank economists and business groups paint a similar picture: one where Britain looks like a hive of activity, wheeling and dealing its way to prosperity.
This is in a way that boosts the traditional measure of national income – GDP.
It is clear, though, that all the talk of reinventing the post-Covid economy has so far been just that: talk.
House Prices Increasing
Last week’s Halifax house price data showed that traditional markers of success remain paramount inside Downing Street. House prices gained 1.1% in March compared with February.
Thus taking them 6.5% higher than they were in March 2020 – well ahead of February’s average 0.4% inflation rate and median annual pay settlements of 1% in the three months ending 28 February, according to XpertHR.
The Treasury has pumped house prices higher with taxpayer-funded concessions on stamp duty that mean the £500,000 tax-free threshold will remain until 30 June and until 30 September at £250,000.
This is before returning to its original level of £125,000.
That is that government subsidies for home purchases are channeled into property-industry profits via higher prices.
The same old Tory practice favoring an industry that makes donations to its election war chest, cloaked in PR messages.
All about turning Generation Rent into Generation Buy.
Building on flood plains continues apace and housing density, not biodiversity, remains the highest priority of the housing minister, Robert Jenrick.
Meanwhile, the government has scrapped its most ambitious and costly measures to tackle climate change.
The £1.5bn green homes grant and halved the science research budget for universities, leaving a £2bn hole in research funding overall.