Comment on Great Britain – Economic drastic cure on feet of clay

The British currency has depreciated and the economy is in recession. Tough measures should help (picture alliance / / Steve Taylor)

Taxes up, spending down: The government is pinching the British from two sides. Everyone will have to tighten their belts, the poor in the country so tight that many will hardly have any air to breathe.

Prime Minister Richi Sunak does not spare the rich from the cure

All the same, Rishi Sunak and his Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, are not exempting the rich from the drastic cure they are imposing on the country. Her budget is fairer, less callous, and most importantly, more sensible than Liz Truss’ furiously failed September budget. And when the drastic cure works when inflation is brought back to normal, the economy recovers, markets regain confidence then the hardship may have been worth it in the end.

Despite this, Sunak’s therapy for the kingdom also has feet of clay. Because the changing Tories in Downing Street remain true to one thing: They refuse to take a careful medical history and thus an accurate diagnosis of the disease that has afflicted Britain’s economy. And that is not a good basis for healing success.

Almost three trillion euros in debt, inflation at eleven percent

The UK, the finance minister admitted today, is already in recession. The central bank fears that it will drag on for years. Inflation is eleven percent and rising. The country has accumulated almost three trillion euros in debt. And no matter who you ask why: Boris Johnson, Liz Truss, Rishi Sunak or any other Tory: they all answer with the same mantra: the pandemic and Russia are to blame. International problems from which everyone suffers equally.

Economy not yet recovered from Corona

But that is a flat lie. Be it to deceive yourself or just to deceive the others. Great Britain is the only G7 country whose economy has not yet recovered from Corona. And a big reason for that is Brexit, the nasty B-word that politicians (especially, but not just the Tories) are so reluctant to use. Even before the pandemic, Britain was a problem child. Productivity and salaries have stagnated for years, there is too little investment and innovation. The social gap between rich and poor, also between the regions, is widening. In such a situation, leaving the world’s largest single market and sealing oneself off from the direct neighbors can be seen as crazy or daring.

But if you don’t recognize and admit mistakes, you’re clearly blocking the chance to heal them. It doesn’t have to be the exit from Brexit, even minor changes could make a difference. There is still a lot of room for improvement here, including in Rishi Sunak’s new government.

Portrait: Christine Heuer

Christine Heuer, born in Bonn in 1967, studied German, philosophy, history and English. She was a freelance correspondent for Deutschlandfunk in the Bonn and Berlin studios in the capital, state correspondent in North Rhine-Westphalia and head of the Cologne editorial office. Heuer was most recently an editor in the current affairs department and for many years moderated the program “Information in the morning” on Deutschlandfunk. Since 2020 she has been reporting as a correspondent from Great Britain and Ireland.