I am grateful to the Society of Business Economists for being included on the program of today’s Annual Conference. This is my first straight-up speech focused on the outlook for the British economy as an external Monetary Policy Committee [MPC] member, and this is the right audience to which to give it. I hope that you will correct my errors, and add to the hopefulness of my outlook, but also not be too rough with me in doing so (MPC meetings are rough enough). The theme of this year’s conference, “Sustaining the Recovery, ” is the right one for us to be considering, both as a matter of forecasting and of policymaking. What I would like to offer today is my own individual take on how the British recovery is progressing, and thus what I think is likely to happen next. My inclination is always to look at such questions in a comparative context, and, having had the excellent assistance of my advisers on the Bank’s MPC unit, I will take you through a series of pointed rather than comprehensive comparisons of the UK economic outcomes with (primarily) those of France, Germany, Italy, and the United States. I hasten to add that these countries were not chosen for their similarly disappointing (all but one) World Cup performances, but for their comparability with the UK economy in size, development, and exposure to the global economic shocks of the last three years
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