RISHI Sunak has laid into forecasters for woefully underestimating Britain’s Covid bounce back yesterday.
In a Cabinet roasting, the PM ordered ministers to hammer home that the UK was now near the top of the G7 for growth.
Rishi Sunak slammed forecasters for woefully underestimating Britain’s Covid bounce back[/caption]
His outburst came after experts said GDP was actually 0.6 per cent higher than pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2021 — not 1.2 per cent lower as they had previously estimated.
The Office for National Statistics published its new growth figures last week in an embarrassing revision.
Mr Sunak told his top team that the screeching U-turn “completely destroys the narrative that Labour peddle about growth being stagnant”.
Responding to the changes, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt hit out: “The fact that the UK recovered from the pandemic much faster than thought shows that once again those determined to talk down the British economy have been proved wrong.”
But an angry Treasury source added: “If the ONS had revised their number earlier we would have avoided 18 months of a narrative that we are some outsider and basket case.”
Mr Sunak told his ministers that the revised numbers meant the UK had faster growth than France, Germany and Italy, with a quicker recovery than any other European nation.
When grilled by MPs over the figures, ONS boss Sir Ian Diamond blamed a “period of great turmoil”.
He added: “Other countries will be producing revisions in the next little while. We are producing our revisions a little earlier than other countries.”
But he admitted he “spent August completely concerned” about the impact of the revision, insisting: “It is not a mistake but a revision. And I recognise you may think that I am playing with semantics.”