James Moore: The worst is over

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The Independent Online

Just as it's possible to talk your way into a recession, you can also talk your way out of a recovery. We might be in danger of doing just that. All right, last month's third-quarter GDP numbers were a nasty shock. But in the past few weeks there have been other numbers which offer some grounds for hope. There are signs of life on the high street. The housing market, if not exactly healthy, is out of its trough.

The banks say bad debts are peaking and (in some cases) coming down, something that usually lags a recovery. A better than expected result on unemployment is the latest evidence. It may prove to be a blip. But the predictions held that we should be in a much worse state than we are actually in.

There's been no wave of optimism, to be sure. More a steady drip, drip. But it is there, and it is perceptible.

I don't want to underestimate the challenge this country faces. The Government's profligacy has left this country with a mountain of debt that will take years to pay off.

That will have to be addressed after the election if the UK is to keep its prized AAA credit rating, a downgrade to which would have a myriad of unpleasant consequences.

By attacking it too hard, or in the wrong way, we could end up sliding rapidly down a very long snake into the dreaded "double-dip recession" rather than the current slow climb up a long ladder. But climbing we now are. The worst could be over.