Royaume-Uni : le Brexit, une « crevaison lente » et limitée pour l’économie

PPolitically, the issue of Brexit appears to be increasingly settled in the United Kingdom, with a clear majority of British people now believing that leaving the European Union (EU) has been a failure. Approximately 60% of them think that the decision “was a mistake”; only 10% believe that Brexit is going well “for now”, and just 30% think that it will be positive “in the long term”.

In these circumstances, all the country’s problems end up being attributed to him: skyrocketing inflation, crumbling schools, growing waiting lists in hospitals, stagnant economy, political instability… But is this really the case?

Le 1erIn September, the Office for National Statistics, the British equivalent of INSEE, published a major statistical revision. This revision covers the years 2020 and 2021, during the pandemic. It concludes that the British economy was significantly stronger than initially estimated. In the fourth quarter of 2021, the gross domestic product (GDP) was finally 0.6% above its level in the fourth quarter of 2019, before the pandemic, instead of being 1.2% below as previously calculated. Suddenly, with almost two points of GDP recovered, the United Kingdom doesn’t seem to be doing so badly.

If this new calculation is correct, and if the statistics for 2022 and 2023 themselves are not completely modified, it means that the economy is currently 1.5% above its pre-pandemic level. This is similar to France, significantly better than Germany (0%), but not as good as Italy (2.1%), Japan (3.5%), Canada (3.5%), or the United States (6.1%). Obviously, the British government is delighted. “These figures show that we have rebounded better than many other G7 economies,” boasts Jeremy Hunt, the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Did Brexit therefore not have an impact?

La valse des chiffres

In order to gain clarity, it is necessary to understand the reason for the revision of the statistics. First, according to John Springford, an economist at the think tank Centre for European Reform, this is a second revision: “The previous one, a year ago, was a downward correction of 1.7 percentage points of GDP. This new estimate ultimately just cancels out that first revision.” Furthermore, he warns that most other statistical institutes around the world are also working on revising their figures for the pandemic period, which may lead to further changes in international comparisons.

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