Growth but not as we know it

Down the "Dog and Duck" they're unlikely to spend long chatting about the latest GDP figures. However, the numbers will shape the national conversation about the state of the economy.

There'll be no more talk of dips - double let alone treble - as people speak of recovery and not recession.

That will have an impact on political psychology - giving Tory MPs another reason to smile on their sun loungers this summer and allowing George Osborne to believe that he has finally put that "omnishambles" Budget behind him.

However, Ed Balls and Labour will be quick to remind us that a recovery in one measure of national economic output is not the same as a recovery in living standards. Average real incomes fell by 3% last year and the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies believes they will fall again as wages are squeezed, benefits and tax credits cut and inflation increases.

The politics of 'growth versus austerity' will slowly transform into the politics of who will improve 'living standards for all'. That's why the shadow chancellor is launching a Commission on Inclusive Prosperity with the former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers.

Now they might not use those exact words down the 'Dog and Duck' but it is what they care about - which is why the chancellor spent the early hours of this morning being filmed at a bakery, with a motorway repair crew and at a supermarket distribution centre.

Today's figures tell a simple story. This is growth but - as they used to say on Star Trek - not as we know it.

PS: The former Director General of the CBI has an interesting piece in the FT this morning on whether GDP really matters.

Nick Robinson, Political editor Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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