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Spanners in the works that really aren’t needed

·1-min read
Spending from the Platinum Jubilee just might save us for the now almost definite technical recession  (Dominic Lipinski/PA) (PA Wire)
Spending from the Platinum Jubilee just might save us for the now almost definite technical recession (Dominic Lipinski/PA) (PA Wire)

Two events; one happy and glorious, the other just a total misery-fest.

On the face of it the Platinum Jubilee and this week’s rail strikes appear to have nothing in common.

But not for dabblers in the so called dismal science. For economists both represent spanners in the works that will have an inevitable knock-on effect for output.

We know from previous extra Bank Holidays granted for royal knees-ups that the loss of productivity far outweighs any additional spending on bunting and cakes.

The closure of most of the rail network will prevent millions of commuters and shoppers travelling, although in a work from home world, it is less obvious what the net impact will be.

Some optimists have suggested that deferred spending from the long Bank Holiday weekend — and presumably the rail strike too — will be shunted into July, potentially saving the economy from a technical recession by boosting output in the second quarter.

More likely it will just be lost in the ever darkening landscape of the second half of the year. There is now a real risk of major disruption to the economy for the rest of 2022 as other groups of public sector workers understandably make their case.

This is increasingly feeling like an economy running out of control with the sunny uplands of the supply side “growth agenda” as far out of reach as ever.

@JonPrynn

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