In a comment piece for the Independent, economist David Blanchflower reveals that the 6 years it has taken for the UK to get back to its previous GDP peak has been the slowest peace time recovery since the South Sea Bubble bust in the early 18th Century.
The crash of 2008/9 was severe, but certainly not unprecedented, so while it’s good the GDP has now recovered to previous highs (although as Bill Mitchell points out here, on other measures the recovery remains elusive), George Osborne and the Government surely must take some of the blame for the long economic stagnation we are only now leaving.
There’s a danger now that the Government are allowed to take the credit for this belated recovery, having failed to properly reform the financial sector, and laid the foundations for the next housing bubble. There was a real chance to implement lasting change after the crash. Labour didn’t take it, and the Tories have been quite happy to maintain the status quo.
If things continue to pick up, we should not forget just how long it took to get to this point, and be aware of potential future problems that become more likely the longer we put up with Tory complacency and Labour timidity.