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UK economy growing faster than predicted, says ONS

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Gross domestic product (GDP) for the third quarter is up 0.8% on the same period last year, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has announced, but a top academic has warned that GDP as a measure of economic sustainability gives a misleading picture.

The Treasury has welcomed the statistics, saying they prove the government’s economic plan is working better than initially predicted.

A spokesperson for the Treasury said, “Today’s data show that the recovery has been stronger than previously thought and that the government’s long term economic plan is working. But risks remain and the job is not done, so the government will go on taking the difficult decisions needed to deliver a responsible recovery for all”.

But last week, Victor Anderson, visiting professor at Anglia Ruskin University’s Global Sustainability Institute told Blue & Green Tomorrow last week that GDP “looks away from society and the environment”.

He added, “In some limited respects, GDP is a useful statistic. However, what it is not useful for is measuring the success of an economy, as its growth is perfectly compatible with both environmental disaster and deterioration in living standards and living conditions.”

The comments came in response to his book, Alternative Economic Indicators, which has been reissued 22 years after its first publication. Anderson said the need for the republication was “depressing”, as it showed how little progress has been made in the last two decades.

The Treasury would not provide official comment on economic measures.

Further reading:

Reissue of 1991 book on economic growth indicators ‘depressing’, says author

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Poorest facing ‘toughest ever winter’, says food poverty charity

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Climate change threatens 31% of global economic output

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