The UK and Ireland in it together

Just as the stamp duty cut fails to overwhelm, the forecasters pile on the agony. “UK is the only major economy to face recession this year, OECD warns. It said the UK economy will shrink 0.3% in the third quarter, and 0.4% in the fourth. It believes the UK economy will grow by 1.2% for the whole of 2008, well down on the 1.8% forecast in June.”

Ireland knew it was walking the plank in June, courtesy of the Economic and Social Research Institute.

So we’ll sink and swim together; nothing new in that, even though we may use different strokes to pull us out.

In one respect, the UK is a mite more fortunate, thanks to North Sea Oil. The Treasury recorded a better-than-expected surplus of £4.8bn in July, with the public coffers lifted by a £4bn corporation tax contribution from North Sea companies, more than twice as much as in July 2007, while Irish state revenues are plummeting faster than expected only two months ago. If anything, the mood is gloomier in Dublin than in London.

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London

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