It’s hard to like January as a month. The start of the New Year invariably brings with it resolutions to drink less – or even nothing – for a month, do more exercise and take more care over how we spend our money.
In short, we make all sorts of promises to ourselves to live better lives in the year ahead — many of which will often be broken within the first couple of weeks, days… or even, for those with the most threadbare will power, hours.
Equally, some of January will also be spent attempting to gauge what the year ahead will bring for us collectively, as a nation. And as things stand, things aren’t looking overly positive.
Interest rates are still at near record lows, the Bank of England’s Quantitative Easing (QE) credit card is maxed out, we have soaring debt interest payments, lower economic growth, rising prices and stagnant wage growth — while there’s no end in sight to government austerity.
If there is one thing we can be certain this year will bring, it’s the continuation of Brexit negotiations, even if it’s impossible to say how successful they will be.
If Brexit negotiations go badly, we could even see a snap election, which could hand Jeremy Corbyn the keys to Number 10. All in all, 2018 has the potential to deliver a lot of uncertainty and change.
Looking further ahead, if reports Britain is to add another £300 billion to the national debt by 2031 are to be believed, then it would be fair to suggest the country will be less well-equipped than it could be when the next financial shock hits.
What we can agree on is that, like our own personal resolutions, the government needs to resolve to fix our very vulnerable economy. Because, even if it is not this year, next year or five years from now, there will be another financial shock before 2031.
And given the current state of the British economy, it could be devastating. That, as gloomy as it sounds, is one of the safer predictions any of us can make as we enter 2018.
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