Asked for his assessment of the UK’s current economic plight, Labour leader Keir Starmer said this morning:
“The single biggest problem over the last 12 years has been the failure to grow the economy. We haven’t had economic growth for 12 years now.”
The Holborn and St Pancras MP told the BBC’s Nick Robinson that “there’s no point pretending that this is a result of Brexit or Ukraine – it’s been there for 12 years”.
It is of course 12 years since the Conservatives first took office as part of the coalition government – and Sir Keir seems keen to point the finger at successive Tory leaders.
But it’s not true that “we haven’t had economic growth for 12 years”.
Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows the UK economy has grown every year since 2010. The only exception was 2020, when the nation took a battering from the Covid pandemic.
It is fair to say that UK growth – even before the pandemic – has not been as strong as it was during other periods of recent history.
Between 2000 and 2007, under Labour, UK GDP grew by 2.9 per cent a year on average, according to analysis from the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) think tank published pre-pandemic.
Between 2010 and 2015, when the Conservative-led coalition was in power, that figure dropped to 2 per cent.
But remember, Sir Keir’s claim today was that there had been no growth since 2010. And that’s not supported by the evidence.
A Labour Party spokesperson told FactCheck: “There has been an unprecedented slowing of economic growth under the Conservatives. Our economy under the Tories has been stagnant – with not only a slowing of growth but next to no growth in real GDP per capita, productivity, or wages since the global financial crisis.”
Keir Starmer said “we haven’t had economic growth for 12 years”. This is incorrect. The UK economy has grown every year since 2010, except for one year: 2020.