Sunday 30 April 2017

We need to get real

Yesterday's dreadful retail sales figures provided a sobering reality check for anyone inclined to believe that we have put the worst of our economic problems behind us. Not alone did retail sales fall by a further 4pc in the year to the end of April, retail sales have now fallen by a quarter since 2007.

The figures paint a picture of an economy mired in a deep 1930s-style depression. Even people who have money are terrified to spend it. In fact the underlying trend in April was even worse than the headline figures indicate. If motor sales, which have been artificially boosted by the scrappage scheme, are excluded the annual fall in retail sales was 5pc.

When the scrappage scheme ends at the end of next month new car sales are likely to revert to their disastrous 2009 levels, pulling retail sales even lower.

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