Recovery not 'firmly rooted' warns Kenneth Clarke

Jul 20, 2014

Former chancellor says economy remains ‘fragile’ and vulnerable to shocks

The UK’s economic recovery is not “firmly rooted” warns former Tory chancellor Kenneth Clarke. Describing the economy as “fragile”, he says there is a "long, long way" to go before the British economy is robust enough to deliver sustainable growth and compete with emerging powers such as China and Brazil.

Despite widespread and growing confidence in the economic recovery, Clarke argues that the economy remains "fragile", vulnerable to shocks, and lacks the strong productive base necessary to compete long-term in global markets.

In an interview with The Observer to mark the end of his 40-year political career, he says Britain must break out of the "ludicrous cycle" of house price booms followed by crashes, and needs to focus urgently on creating a productive manufacturing base in tandem with vibrant financial and other service industries.

"It's not firmly enough rooted on a proper balance between manufacturing and a wide range of services and financial services," he argues. "I mean, we have this mystery of why we can't get productivity to start rising again."

The former chancellor also admits there has been tension between him and David Cameron since the 2010 election. He says he has grown frustrated by the Tory press office’s efforts to keep him off the television and radio.

However, he insists he is completely “on message” with the government and a “great fan” of chancellor George Osborne. 

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