UK economy shrinks by worst in over 3 years

Contraction worst since March 2016
Image by Taneli Rajala (Own work) [GFDL (, CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or CC-BY-2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons

The UK’s economy shrank in April by 0.4%, the worst fall in more than three years, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

An ONS spokesperson said that the fall was driven by contractions in manufacturing as well as professional, scientific and technical activities.


While the Tories bicker over Brexit and the identity of their next leader, reality is biting and their supposed reputation for economic competence persists even in its threadbare form because it is shored up only by the Establishment media.

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    1. Tory austerity over the last nine years has undermined our economy and caused hundreds of thousands of avoidable deaths.

      You are a remain extremist who is completely unwilling to compromise, we all know that. But for you to try to help the Tories get off the hook for the damage their austerity policy has caused, a policy they share with the EU, is shocking,

      You are defending the Tories. Are there no depths you will not sink to in your anti-democratic attempt to overturn the largest ballot in the history of our democracy?

      Extremist remainers like you are Tory enablers and apologists.

      You’re a disgrace, beneath contempt, you Tory boy.

      1. RH is merely a Mandelson/Campbell full-time troll, supplying a permanent nonsense of political “white noise” to disrupt this popular Left site. All his constant interventions are so predictable that one wonders if his, and his identically posting co-trolls, are just computer-driven programmes. Very tiresome.

      2. I.A. there is no such thing as a Remain extremist, ‘remain’ is how Britain has been functioning for decades. However the very fact that you choose to view Remainers as extreme is a sure sign of your fanaticism, as are your rambling, incoherent assertions.

      3. JackT, I voted remain you pillock but unlike anti-democratic fringe extremists like you I accept democratic ballot results.

      4. Internal Affairs 10/06/2019 at 4:36 pm

        The ‘converts’ do tend to be more devout in their worship.

      5. I.A. So you voted Remain but now advocate Leave. You are a prime candidate for one of Farage’s useful idiots. If you think the the referendum was fully democratic when it was ‘won’ with lies, subterfuges and illegalities, you shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a ballot box, unless of course you would be the only person to suffer as a result of your decision.

        I have no intention of allowing Farage and other Brexit extremists such as yourself to ruin the futures of millions of our citizens, including myself, without putting up a fight against them.

    2. Well – that seems to have brought the denial brigade out of their burrows, bilinking in the liight. ‘Trolls’ in the real sense. The giants of ‘socialist theory’.

      You have to laugh at supporters of extreme neoliberal Tory policy shouting at others who *don’t* as ‘Tory enablers’ and ‘Tory boys’!. I guess, in their minds, the ERG are true socialists as they look to the state to support the finance industry.

      Laughs apart, of course, the responses are a clear demonstration of how detached are extreme Lexiteers from reality and devoid of both the ability and evidence to make a case.Thus the descent into meaningless ‘Yah-Booh’ chanting.

      Thanks for the indirect confirmation of my comment

      1. RH JackT SteveH

        Uncompromising remainers like you and your mirror image, the Tory ERG, are the fringe extremists.

        The only moderate is Jeremy Corbyn, who respects the referendum result whilst offering the nearest arrangements as possible to the existing ones we have with the EU.

        I am not surprised you and SteveH and JackT are trying to pin the blame on others but it won’t wash I’m afraid.

        Extremist remainers are directly responsible for the resurgence of Farage and the creation of the Brexit party. Not only that, you have acted as a recruiting sergeant for Tommy Robinson and the far right.

        You are the fascists’ best friend.

        It is your monster. Be a man, own it.

    3. Very simple grenade to throw into cheap and nasty Tory party has just come up on Politics Live
      Have any of the candidates lied on their Visa applications to get into USA, did they say NO to drugs use
      In which case they have to be prosecuted and banned from entering USA, never mind stopped from being next PM

    4. Lies, lies, lies RH. Here’s a shot of reality for you: “German industrial production plunged the most in almost four years in April and the nation’s central bank gave a gloomy assessment of the outlook, suggesting a persistent slump in Europe’s largest economy.

      Factories are at the heart of the region’s slowdown, as trade tensions, weaker car sales and cooling global demand weigh on exports. That’s worrying European Central Bank policy makers, who fear the weakness will ripple through to other areas of the euro-area economy, where the services sector has so far had to prop up demand.”

      1. Bits of litmus paper to show up the invalidity of comments – the terms ‘lies’, ‘liar’, ‘traitor’, ‘will of the people’, ‘troll’ … and afew more.

        What you mean is that you disagree, or have a different interpretation.

        I would just point out that the structural weakness of the UK economy is far worse than that of Germany, and has been excerbated by the Brexit debacle – a mess than now lacks any cloak of credibility – an obvious truth rather than just speculation.

    5. Nothing to do with Brexit, everything to with current levels of debt

  1. It shows (just like the banking crisis) that we cannot trust the economy being left in capitalist hands.

    Instead we need a massive programme of public works which is planned, PUBLIC OWNERSHIP LED and orientated towards shifting wealth towards working class people, led by a massive house-building effort to bring down the cost of accommodation. Markets must give way to public monopoly as we prioritise boosting the employment of British people, in secure jobs with good conditions, who alone have the VOTES to re-elect a socialist Labour government. The ultimate aim must be to bring about a fundamental shift in wealth in favour of working class people.

    Such a programme would be struck down by the UK courts at corporate behest without a No Deal Brexit since it violates multiple EU norms (marketization, nationality discrimination, “market operator principle”, restriction on state aids, free movement of persons).

    Kneejerk “leftish” groupthink against No Deal (essentially a symptom of the Left’s retreat in the face of 40 years of Thatcherism/neoliberalism) leaves no space for realisation that EU, EEA and BRINO are all fatal to the implementation of a democratic socialist economic programme.

  2. Apparently the dramatic fall was mainly due to a drop in car production. As we won’t have mass production automotive industry if we Leave it’ll be one less thing to worry about

    1. Bollocks, SteveH. Brexit is not the reason for the now rapid decline of the UK ‘s entirely foreign multinational owned car industry at all. The entire global car industry is suffering from massive over-capacity – with a spate of major new amalgamations underway (the current , apparently suddenly abandoned or halted, Chrysler/Fiat/Renault/Nissan colossus one being a vivid example of the direction of travel) . The global overcapacity and resulting vicious cost competition, is driving firms to ever-lower cost production centres, certainly not in the UK. Also the exposure of the long term Europe-wide fraud over diesel car emissions has knackered the European diesel car market – and the Ford and Jaguar UK-based car engine plants facing closure were geared to diesel. Also , the UK consumer market for cars generally is now maxed out on excess borrowing , with massive falling sales inevitable. Lastly the previously explosively expanding Chinese car market (vital for the likes of Jaguar Landrover, BMW, etc, has slowed considerably – as the Chinese economic bubble threatens to burst

      ALL the global and European and UK internal, factors which have led to a likely rapid decline of the UK’s very insecurely based , entirely inward investment-driven (and huge state investment GRANTS facilitated) 20 year “car production miracle” , were beginning to operate BEFORE Brexit was even an issue. That foreign-owned car firms retreating to their home bases, or to ever-cheaper production centres (Ford moving Transit van production to Turkey for instance, or Jaguar to Eastern Europe) , often claim “Brexit uncertainty” as a CORE reason, is just a crude cover for both management incompetence (the diesel engine fiasco) , or to conceal that none of these firms , attracted to the UK by HUGE government grants, had any intention of staying for the long term. Your knowledge of the economics and dynamics of the global automotive industry is as deep as your knowledge of everything you comment on, SteveH , ie, non-existent.

      1. Your speil is a classic denial script.

        Of course, the automotive industry is beset by massive structural issue. Addressing them requires economic, technical and managerial nous – all strikingly lacking in the UK’s perilously weak and unbalanced economy.

        Of course Brexit isn’t the sole factor involved – but it is a factor that pushes the UK further down the hill rather than up it. It is, indeed a ‘CORE’ issue in the economic picture.

      2. jpenney, my analysis of the “British” motor industry exactly coincides with yours – the Tory drive for “inward investment,” otherwise known as the sale of our national heritage – always was and still is a catastrophic policy bordering on treason.
        The proposition that Brexit will improve our economic prospects though is as over-optimistic as ever, but the subject has been done to death and I’m bored with it – except to add one small point.
        We agree on British managerial incompetence – you surely would concede that even a Labour government newly free of EU constraint can’t conjure a new breed of managers from nothing in less than a decade?

      3. You are correct Jpenny. The purpose of RHs/Stevens etc is to stop such economic debate and turning the spotlight on European failings at any cost. The automotive industry is undergoing massive change across the world, but these idiots want to blame it on Brexit.

      4. jpenney 10/06/2019 at 11:32 am

        The ONS quite clearly states that Brexit has had a significant impact on manufacturing figures and whatever the problem with the worldwide automotive industry leaving the EU makes the UK even more vulnerable and will without doubt put us way down the bottom of the list for foreign investment in an industry that depends on complex supply chains.

        Have you gallant Brexiteers decided what sort of Brexit you want yet.

      5. David McNiven. I don’t disagree with some of what you say. The lack of effective and appropriately skilled managers (with a willingness to stay in a company long term) to assist with a radical regeneration plan for not only manufacturing industry in the UK, but the recreation of now destroyed but vital services like Local education Authorities (to take the currently buccaneering, corruption-riddled Academy schools back under democratic control) , is a huge issue for a Labour government wishing to achieve that much promised by all parties , “rebalancing of the UK economy”.

        As is the need to rebuild the free technical college and FE-based massive training programmes for skills like nursing or even bricklaying and plumbing , or skilled engineers, etc, all of which have been so easily bought in for 30 years or more , at no cost to UK businesses, from the unlimited labour supply facilitated by not only the EU, but an ideology and practice which has simply asset stripped the skilled labour pool of the Third World too , rather than training UK citizens.

        Also the parasitic, and , as the 2008 Crash showed, highly unstable ever-larger UK financial sector has syphoned off graduates who otherwise could have been productive managers in UK businesses , particularly high tech manufacturing with a major role in “rebalancing” the economy. This isn’t only about the UK within the EU Single Market of course, but is more deeply entrenched in a UK business community , in or out, which is financialised and only looking to extract superprofits in the shortest time possible via “slash and burn” company asset-stripping , as exemplified by Philip Green ‘s business model with BHS and Arcadia, or Greybull with Curries and British Steel, or the earlier destruction of both ICI and GEC.

      6. JPenny – you have rightly – and, for once, rationally – outlined the extreme fragility and unbalanced nature of the UK economic base. This has a long historical genesis and a range of symptoms and causes. Which is my point.

        The argument is, however, that the notion that Brexit does anything but worsen that state of affairs is insupportable.

  3. Oh, forgot… Victoria Derbyshire ‘accidentally’ called Hunt by the “C” word on air this morning, followed by a quick denial that she EVER uses that word.
    Yeah, right, Vicky.

  4. This stat shows the destruction of our economy by the government… yet most on here seem obsessed with the rights or wrongs of Brexit ?!?

    So news flash: Remaining in the EU and continuing Torie austerity will kill our economy and therefor most of our jobs!
    Leaving the EU and continuing Torie austerity will kill our economy and therefor most of our jobs!

    If anything Brexit has so far shielded us from this… mainly because people are so petrified the Tories will pulling out with no-deal they have started stock piling food, hence in the previous statistics the only industry to have seen any growth was grocery’s… but guess what that doesn’t mean brexit is an inherently bad idea, just the way the Tories are choosing (and failing) to implement it!

    Let me put it another way, the elites are not scared of the 48%, they are not scared of the 52%, they are scared of the 98%!

    Early lefty writers called it the proletariat (ie ANYONE who makes their living by work, instead of exploitation or by earning interest from inherited wealth) they pointed out that the only thing stopping US taking control from THEM was the old divide and conquer routine.

    The referendum was just that… we are not leavers or remainers, we are not over educated snowflakes or under achieving simpletons. We are THE MANY and if we want to take back control (in or out of the EU) we need to start acting like it!


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