‘‘Stagnating wages cost UK workers £11,000 a year, says Resolution Foundation”



This headline is on the BBC News website today (20 March): ‘‘Stagnating wages cost UK workers £11,000 a year, says Resolution Foundation’

It took me back to 2014 when HM Treasury was peddling nonsensical economic forecasts on behalf of the scaremongering NO/UKOK campaign before Scotland’s independence referendum. You may recall that news reports made much of this particular claim:

‘Scottish people will be £1,400 a year better off if the country remains in the UK, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said.’

‘Introducing the report this morning, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said his fellow Scots would get a “UK Dividend” from staying in the union. “Today we have shown that, by staying together, Scotland’s future will be safer, with stronger finances and a more progressive society, because as a United Kingdom we can pool resources and share risks,” the Lib Dem minister said.’

Source: https://www.itv.com/news/story/2014-05-28/scottish-government-independence-costs-blatantly-flawed/

So we can now make: (a) a comparison between a speculative forecast with an after the fact analysis; (b) a comparison between the desperate claim of a partisan participant in a political campaign with that of an economic think-tank whose President is the former Tory minister, the Rt Hon. Lord Willetts; and finally (c) a comparison between a FORECAST which stated we in Scotland would miss out on £1,400 per annum by choosing independence with an analysis of ACTUAL economic data that states that those in work in Scotland within the Union are £11,000 a year worse off!

And in any event, next time perhaps we shouldn’t be influenced by economic forecasts anyway:

1) ‘IDS in extraordinary Brexit attack on Mark Carney: BoE boss is ‘architect of Project Fear – Iain Duncan Smith has launched an extraordinary attack on Bank of England boss Mark Carney branding him the “architect and promoter of Project Fear” (Daily Express online: Aug 2, 2019)

2) On the UK after Brexit: ‘Speaking to the Today programme, the Conservative MP said: “I’ve never actually believed those forecasts. “Most of the economists, I think, have been pretty much wrong about this and I think they will be wrong about that. Many other economists don’t believe that. What we will see, once we’re out, with our own trading arrangements, an explosion of real talent and trade.” (Daily Express December 30, 2020)

3) On the Office for Budget Responsibility: ”OBR watchdog chief admits its borrowing forecasts are ‘almost certain to be wrong’ as Tories seethe over Autumn Statement tax rises’, (Mail Online 21 November, 2022)

Quoting Professor David Miles, an OBR executive: “the OBR changes its forecast all the time. That reflects shocks and more shocks will come. This means our central forecast today is pretty much guaranteed to be wrong. Outcomes even a year or so down the road will not coincide with today’s central forecast. We are 100 per cent guaranteed to have a central forecast that will turn out to be too high or too low. It may seem obvious from this that such forecasts are useless. But a central estimate of an unknown future outcome that is virtually certain to be wrong and changes over time – sometimes suddenly and sharply – can still be useful.”

4) ‘OECD accused of misleading forecasts after predicting British economy will shrink. Uncertainty due to Brexit is a key factor in the organisation’s pessimistic outlook.’ (The Telegraph 17 March, 2023)


3 thoughts on “‘‘Stagnating wages cost UK workers £11,000 a year, says Resolution Foundation”

    telling the public the truth is usually the very last thing they would consider


  2. The defence put forward by Alistair Carmichael when he was sued by some constituents about lying was that in the course of a political campaign, lying is acceptable as part of the rough and tumble of politics.

    Although Carmichael was deemed culpable on 2 of the 3 issues, the judge, reluctantly accepted the assertion that ‘lying’ is, alas, part of political debate. So, Carmichael got off the hook.

    I suspect the same ‘lying’ justification would be put forward in the case of Alexander’s and Willett’s mendacity.


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