James Moore: A happy new year? Third helping of recession is starting to look more likely
Outlook Remember when everyone was twitching about a double dip recession? Those seem like halcyon days now that there's a new phrase creeping its way into the popular lexicon: The triple dip.
The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics confirmed that the economy did indeed grow 1 per cent in the third quarter of this year, its best performance for a long time.
But the figure is a mirage. Growth between July and September was greatly boosted by one-off events such as the Queen's Jubilee and the Olympics. In their absence, a fall back to more realistic levels by the end of the current quarter was inevitable.
However, that fall may be steeper than we realise. Already there are disturbing signs that activity is slowing by more than can be accounted for by a post-Olympic drop-off.
The floods across the large parts of the country combined with widespread uncertainty and wafer-thin confidence mean the festive season will be a subdued one. If the economy isn't contracting now, it might not be too long before it is.
To qualify as a recession – our triple dip – there would need to be two consecutive quarters of negative growth. That may not happen but it is a realistic possibility.
Mark Carney was always going to find himself in a hot seat following his appointment as Governor of the Bank of England on Monday. He is about to find out just how hot.
There are things the government could do to help the situation. As if we needed any more gloom, the OECD yesterday warned that Britain's public finances will be in pretty poor shape throughout next year.
But, crucially, it again stated that Britain might want to consider easing up on its ambitious targets to cut the budget deficit at least until the economy is healthier.
That would be the pragmatic option, and the sensible one. It's true we might get downgraded by Moody's or Standard & Poor's but, really, who cares? It is a long time since those organisations had any clout with the bond markets which dictate our borrowing costs.
Sadly, sense is a commodity that is in short supply in Westminster. Against the backdrop laid bare by the OECD, the Government is contemplating yet more spending cuts which increasingly seem driven by ideology as opposed to sound economics.
All that and the potential of internecine warfare with our nearest trading partners to protect the Conservative Party's rightward flank from a surging UK Independence Party. Best wait until 2014 before saying "happy new year".
- 1 Games of Thrones actor Lena Headey makes emotional promise to her unborn daughter
- 2 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
- 3 Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
- 4 Female Muay Thai champion hustles coaches to give them a beating
- 5 16-year-old girl beaten and burned alive by lynch mob in Rio Bravo, Guatemala
Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
Purity balls: Girls in the US making virginity pledges as fathers vow to 'protect purity'
Female Muay Thai champion hustles coaches to give them a beating
Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
16-year-old girl beaten and burned alive by lynch mob in Rio Bravo, Guatemala
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
iJobs Money & Business
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...
£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...
£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...