Sunday 17 December 2017

It won't happen fast, but recovery is on the cards

Although flawed, the Government's new strategy is a move towards prosperity, writes Marc Coleman

Marc Coleman

Marc Coleman

I don't know about you, but my favourite Christmas show is the Father Ted special A Christmassy Ted. As a smooth Barry Murphy tries selling Mrs Doyle an automatic tea maker -- "It'll take the misery out of tea making" -- she responds bitterly, "Maybe I like the misery."

It's a scene that captures that aversion to positivity that characterises a certain type of person in this country and over-represented in our commentariat. But the news last week that the economy grew handsomely in the third quarter doesn't fit the misery narrative. In 1.5 per cent for GDP and 1.6 per cent for GNP, the economy is now recovering.

But if you are of the Mrs Doyle persuasion, don't worry just yet. There's enough misery to go around for a few years at least. While falling below 300,000, unemployment is still at 12.8 per cent of the labour force, 12.9 per cent of mortgages are in arrears of more than 90 days and credit to the vital SME sector is, despite various initiatives by governments past and present, down 20 per cent since 2010. Besides that, Government debt is at 124 per cent and household indebtedness is over twice the level of national disposable income.

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