Khan plays down UK economic growth figures

GDP grew by a stronger than expected 0.6% in the first three months of this year, reports Noah Vickers, Local Democracy Reporter

HM Treasury

The government is “gaslighting the British public” by hailing the fact that the UK economy has grown at the fastest rate in two years, Sadiq Khan has claimed.

Official figures on Friday (10th) showed that GDP grew by a stronger than expected 0.6% in the first three months of this year, bringing the country out of one of the shortest recessions on record.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said the data served as “proof that the economy is returning to full health for the first time since the pandemic”.

But London’s Labour mayor played the figure down, arguing that many Londoners are still “really struggling” with rising costs.

Khan said: “I think the way Londoners behave – whether it’s businesses, families or individual Londoners – it’s not by living their life on a graph, it’s their experiences they have.

“I spoke to many businesses over the last six weeks, and I’ll carry on doing so, who are really struggling with the cost of doing business. I’ve spoken to many families who are really struggling with the cost of living in London.

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“That’s why we’ve got policies like free school meals, freezing fares, building more council homes, and so forth, to help them during this cost of living crisis.

“Anybody who thinks that things have improved, because we are technically not in a recession, I don’t think is living in the real world – and those in the Conservative party trying to give the impression that things are hunky dory now we’ve turned a corner, I think is in danger of gaslighting the British public.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told the BBC later on Friday that while the UK economy has “real momentum”, there is still “more work to do” and it will “take time” for people to “really feel better”.

Gross domestic product (GDP) measures the amount of goods and services an economy produces. Analysts had forecast 0.4% growth between January and March, rather than the 0.6% recorded – which was the fastest pace of growth for two years.

The UK had fallen into recession at the end of last year after shrinking for two three-month periods in a row.

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