EU Referendum

Reality Check: Will UK be largest economy in Europe by 2050?

Gordon Brown saying: Britain will be the largest economy in Europe by 2050.

The claim: Britain will have the biggest economy in Europe by 2050.

Reality Check verdict: Predicting anything for 2050 is very hard to do. Some forecasters think the UK will have the biggest economy by then - others don't.

In a speech on Wednesday, former Prime Minister and Remain campaigner Gordon Brown said that Britain would have the biggest economy in Europe by 2050.

A demography report from the European statistics agency Eurostat last year predicted that the UK would have the continent's biggest population by 2050, reaching 77.2 million, while Germany's will have dropped to 74.7 million.

But remember that predicting anything so many years ahead is extraordinarily difficult to do. That point is illustrated by the number of refugees who have arrived in Germany in the time since those forecasts were made, which would be likely to have an impact on future population.

So what about the impact on the economy? Well, the long-term forecast from the OECD does indeed predict that the UK will have the biggest economy in Europe by 2050, overtaking Germany in the early 2030s.

That conclusion was supported by Goldman Sachs, which predicted that the UK would be in ninth place in the world by 2050, ahead of both Germany and France.

But a report from accountants PwC predicted that the UK economy would be the eleventh biggest economy in the world by 2050, behind Germany in tenth.

And a report from the Economist Intelligence Unit said Britain would be in ninth place, behind Germany in sixth.


Read more: The facts behind claims in the EU debate


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