Fraser Nelson

Channel 4 fact check

Channel 4 fact check
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George Osborne had a bit of a rough ride on Channel Four news at 7pm and the Labour Party has gleefully sent around a transcript. Jon Snow put to him that “the IMF says that our growth is going to be 1.6%, not only this year but next year as well, and that outstrips any other country in the whole of Europe and the United States.” Utter nonsense, of course, but Osborne did not correct him when asked to name a country that would do better. Again Snow said to Osborne that “on the IMF figures, Britain comes out on top” and later “you reject the absolutely key finding which growth which is – you swear by growth – UK growth is 1.6% which is better than anyone else in the developed world”.

I daresay Snow actually believed this junk but I’d like Channel Four’s excellent fact check service to have a proper look at their anchorman’s claim. What they’d find is the IMF data from World Economic Outlook April 2008 (here) names several developed economies expected to better than the UK’s pathetic 1.6% this year. They include Greece 3.5%, Australia 3.2%, Norway 3.1%, Finland 2.4%, New Zealand 2.1%, Sweden 2%, Austria 1.8%, Spain 1.8% and Ireland 1.8%.

All this matters because Brown’s claim is that we should be grateful for this dismal 1.6%. His little “say a little prayer” routine today (“every day that I wake up is about keeping this economy moving forward”) suggests any growth at all is seen as a triumph. In fact, of the 31 countries the IMF considers to be “developed”, a full 19 will do better than Britain. So Britain better than anyone else in the developed world, Mr Snow? Not even Gordon Brown would claim that.

Written byFraser Nelson

Fraser Nelson is the editor of The Spectator. He is also a columnist with The Daily Telegraph, a member of the advisory board of the Centre for Social Justice and the Centre for Policy Studies.

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