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Where political gremlins lurk

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Karl Williams has a useful CAPX piece on net immigration assumptions behind Jeremy Hunt’s Budget.

Political gremlins lurk in the OBR’s immigration numbers 

Most macroeconomic forecasts contain a few gremlins – questionable assumptions or inconvenient details – that help nudge the underlying model towards the results its authors or patrons want to see. The ‘Economic and Fiscal Outlook’ (EFO), published on Budget days by the OBR, is no exception…

So what of Jeremy Hunt’s Budget on Wednesday? Well, in this case, the insidious figure lurking within the accompanying data was not exactly difficult to find, for it was the same as in the November 2022 Budget, only bigger – 19.5% bigger, to be precise.

Lots of factors go into GDP growth. One is the size of the labour force. Hunt’s welcome push on economic inactivity was partly a reflection of this. But most of the workforce growth comes from additional net migration, with the long-run annual rate revised up by 40,000 to 245,000.

That’s more than an extra Milton Keynes every year, or maybe another Blackpool each year. The whole piece is well worth reading.


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