Economic Recovery Boost for Britain’s Ruling Conservatives

As unemployment continues to fall, more voters trust the Conservatives on the economy than Labour.

British prime minister David Cameron in Riga, Latvia, February 28, 2013
British prime minister David Cameron in Riga, Latvia, February 28, 2013 (Flickr/UK in Latvia)

Britain’s economy has begun to grow at its fastest rate since 2007. According to the Office for National Statistics, economic growth was 1.9 percent last year. Unemployment is down to 7.1 percent. Almost a record number of Britons is now in work.

Adding to this is sign that the much-vaunted “economic rebalancing” is in sight.

Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives have pledged to rebalance the British economy from a reliance on consumption to more exports. This appears to be happening. The manufacturing base is growing and recent months have seen the largest surge in demand for British investment goods in two decades.

Britain is now on track to overtake France, Europe’s second largest economy, by 2018 and even Germany, Europe’s largest economy, by 2030.

Starting to get better

The average Briton is also seeing signs that things are starting to get better.

Inflation fell to 2 percent in December, down from 2.1 percent the month before — the first time inflation has been at or below the 2 percent target since November 2009.

The fall in wages has come to a halt, although the average salary is still 6 percent less than it was before the crisis.

In terms of quality of life, the United Kingdom is now seventh in the European Union, on par with Denmark, and 14 percent above the European average.

Across the Channel, there lies the eurozone, Britain’s largest trading parter, and there is good news as well — at last. Manufacturing grew at its strongest since May 2011, even in those countries that needed financial support, including Greece and Spain.

Trust

For Cameron’s Conservative Party, the economic indicators are political ones as well.

33 percent of voters now trust the party to deliver a responsible economic plan. This compares to less than a third who trust Labour to do the same.

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