Economic gloom should spell Tory disaster – but Hunt has made it tricky for Starmer | Jonathan Freedland

The Tories should be toast. The words spoken by Jeremy Hunt to the House of Commons on Thursday, along with the forecasts of the Office for Budget Responsibility, should be enough to ensure that we are in the final stretch of what will have been 14 years of Conservative rule. Given that politics turns on economics, and that the dominant question of any election campaign is a version of the one Ronald Reagan asked of Americans in 1980 – “Are you better off now than you were four [or 14] years ago?” – the Conservatives should be heading to a crushing defeat in 2024.

The economic outlook could scarcely be bleaker, with every measure pointing towards gloom. Real household incomes will fall by a calamitous 7% over the next two years, plunging living standards back to the level they were at in 2013: nine years spent pushing the boulder up the hill, only for it roll back down in 24 months. Forget the crash of 2008, the fall in incomes projected for the next year alone will be the

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This article was written by Jonathan Freedland and originally published on