THE latest set of GDP figures indicate the UK economy may have suffered some sort of cataclysmic event about five years ago.
Experts said the 0.3% growth in the first quarter was much lower than would be expected, unless something important had happened, such as an effective collapse of the global banking system.
Julian Cook, chief economist at Donnelly-McPartlin, said: “It’s absolutely fascinating. I suspect that if we delved into the ancient records, perhaps looked at some old copies of the Daily Sketch, there may be some mention somewhere of a huge financial disaster.
“It may not be obvious at first. You’d be looking out for key words and phrases like ‘meltdown’ or ‘trillion dollar bank bail-out’. Anything along those lines would be the first clue that some sort of catastrophe had taken place.”
But Labour’s shadow chancellor Ed Balls said he has spoken to four people who were alive in early 2008 and none of them are aware of anything bad happening.
He added: “I asked Alistair Darling if he knew anything about a ‘catastrophe’ and he said his time as chancellor was very straightforward and he spent a lot of time just ‘people watching’ from a first floor window.
“Therefore the only reason growth is so weak is because of things that have happened since 2010. I was alive in 2010 and I remember all of those things very clearly.”
A Treasury spokesman said: “If there was some massive, mind-buggering disaster, then our current stagnation would suggest the economy of 2008 may have been over-reliant on financial services and consumer debt.
“Unfortunately, because of the complete absence of historical records we have no idea how long it takes to recover from a huge financial crisis. Which means it is perfectly reasonable for people to expect everything to be fixed really quickly.”