UK will be country hit worst by recession, says IMF

29 January 2009 / by Rachael Stiles
The UK economy will shrink by 2.8 per cent this year – its worst performance since the 1930s – and will be the worst hit by a recession, the International Monetary Fund has said.

Despite reassurances from Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling last year that the UK would fare better through the credit crisis than other countries, the IMF has said that its previous forecast of the global economy, which saw the UK shrink by 1.3 per cent, put the contraction of the UK 1.5 percentage points above its new predictions.

One of the Prime Minister's reasons for optimism throughout the crisis has been that the UK is not suffering to the same extent as other countries, such as America, and The Chancellor's defence has been that the UK economy is in a position of strength to deal with the current economic conditions.

But a report from the IMF on the global economy has said that the US economy will shrink by 1.6 per cent this year, while Germany will contract 2.5 per cent, and the Japanese economy will see 2.6 per cent of contraction.

Brown was forced to admit yesterday that the UK is in a "deep recession", prompting the Liberal Democrat shadow chancellor, Vince Cable, to say that the IMF's report "exposes Gordon Brown's lie that Britain is well-placed to deal with the recession."

Whereas the Prime Minister "likes to pretend that Britain is simply the victim of a global crisis," Mr Cable continues, "many of the UK's problems are clearly home grown. Huge levels of personal debt and an over reliance on the financial sector has made this country particularly vulnerable."

Conservative Leader David Cameron also criticised the Prime Minister for "refusing to take back his claim to have abolished boom and bust", and for trying to blame the UK's problems on America.

Britain is witnessing the "death throes of a failed premiership" Mr Cameron said at Prime Minister's Questions yesterday. "What we’ve had from this Prime Minister is denial about the past, failure in the present, and debt for the future."

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