La Mon Country Club
23rd November 2013
Chief Economist Northern Ireland
The hills are alive with the sound of recovery
A recovery is well underway in terms of output
Private Sector Business Activity - PMIs
Source: Markit & Ulster Bank NI PMI
But no sign of a recovery with household incomes
UK Average Weekly Earnings & CPI Inflation
Annual % Change
Average Weekly Earnings
Does not include taxes
or changes to benefits
The cumulative impact of inflation has been severe
Cumulative % Change in UK Consumer Prices
since 'Credit Crunch' began (Aug 07 to Oct 13)
Gas & Other
What has happened to food prices over the last 6 years*?
* % change between August 2007 – August 2013
What has happened to energy prices over the last 6 years*?
* % change between Aug-07 – Sept-13 (Oct-13 for petrol / diesel)
…prepayment has become more popular
% of Electricity Customers Paying via prepayment
Budgeting has become more difficult for Government
too but at least it can always borrow…
* Source: OBR March 2013 refers to 2011/12 to 2017/18
But given where the public finances are heading
changing behaviours is unavoidable
UK Public Sector Net Debt
Source: ONS, OBR March 2013
1.5 Trillion Pounds of Debt
One Trillion Pounds of Debt
2001-02 2003-04 2005-06 2007-08 2009-10 2011-12 2013-14 2015-16 2017-18
Households & Government face common challenges
An economic recovery is underway
But a recovery in the household & public finances remains
a long way off
Government, like households, is having to change
behaviour to adapt to the new reality
Out of every crisis springs opportunity
“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an
optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty”.
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