Financial TimesFinancial Times

Is life in the UK really as bad as the numbers suggest? Yes, it is

By Tim Harford

20 Jan 2023 · 4 min read

Editor's Note

The British economy is in a "slow-burning economic catastrophe," reports the FT, with disposable incomes having barely increased for 15 years — and things aren't likely to get much better.

At a time of shortages, we are certainly not short of gloomy economic forecasts. The Resolution Foundation think-tank notes that average real earnings have fallen by 7 per cent since a year ago and predicts that earnings will take four or five years to recover to the levels of January 2022.

Yet if the forecasts are bad, it is the scene in the rear-view mirror that is truly horrifying. The British economy is in a generation-long slough of despond, a slow-burning economic catastrophe. Real household disposable income per capita has barely increased for 15 years.

Sign in to informed

  • Curated articles from premium publishers, ad-free
  • Concise Daily Briefs with quick-read summaries
  • Read, listen, save for later, or enjoy offline
  • Enjoy personalized content