Blog: Dave LeggettThoughts on UK economy

Dave Leggett | 27 January 2010

Well, there you have it folks. Recession over. Please resume normal working; it's business as usual. Er, no, not quite. Official figures show that UK GDP actually grew by a none-too-sprightly 0.1% in the fourth quarter of last year. Technically, the economy may have stopped contracting (though the margin is so slim it could be wiped out by future revisions to the data) but to many it will not feel like things are very much better.

This has been one heck of an economic dip and, even if things have stabilised, the future is clouded by debt and the need to repair balance sheets – households, businesses and, let's not forget, governments that have spent big to mitigate the effects of recession and prevent an even more serious economic slump. Many say that more economic weakness is ahead.

As Robert Baker at the SMMT pointed out last week, the volume of GDP has gone way down, so any recovery is coming off a very low base. The absolute level of GDP will struggle to regain pre-crisis levels until 2013. This year will likely see the UK car market contract by around 10%. Party time it ain't.

I'm expecting to hear plenty on the economy/market environment later today at a lunch I'm attending hosted by Automotive PR. Professor Garel Rhys will be there and is sure to broach the subject at some point.

Actually, Royalty will be present also (the one who looks like Tsar Nicholas II).

Etiquette comes into play on these occasions. On first introduction I need to remember to refer to the main man as 'Your Royal Highness' and he should subsequently be addressed as 'Sir'. Fair enough – a quaint bit of tradition and I'm all for that in this world of constant, and frequently unsettling, change. I just hope I don't lose it and corpse badly. I do have some form. I once caused mayhem in a serious meeting because I just couldn't stop laughing when something struck me as absurdly ironic and very, very funny. I could not stop laughing and, after a period of stunned bemusement around the table, that triggered others off.

But there's nothing funny about the Royal family is there? Jeez, let's not go there. Thank goodness today it's the guy who looks like Tsar Nicholas II and not the comically outspoken 'Phil the Greek'. That really could push me over the edge.

UK: UK car market to decline by 11% in 2010 – SMMT


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