I seem to be pessimistic by nature, and while I was in the UK for the past few days, I was on a look-out for signs of British economy’s impeding doom. Despite the pre-budget report, I doubt Britain can haul itself out of a deep recession. The UK will suffer a deeper and longer recession than many other economies. As I have stated repeatedly, I am no economist so there’s a real possibility that I’m completely wrong in what I write. Nevertheless, such realization does not stop me from jotting down my impressions as they stand, and see how laughably wrong I was at a later date.
British citizens and denizens are indebted heavily and are living in homes which are worth less and less. Job security is waning: some reckon 3 million people will be out of work in 2009. The pound is losing ground against other currencies. A weaker pound helps Britain little with export as it does not have a strong manufacturing base.
The weakening currency should help one British industry: tourism. I was struck how many more tourists were on the tube, clutching their guidebooks and chatting happily between one tube station and another. London in particular is a great destination, be it for culture, cuisine or shopping. There are few cities in Europe which could compete with the diversity and wealth that London offers. Shops are already cutting their prices and together with the cheaper pound, London probably will become more attractive, especially for a short weekend trip. I have no idea how much that will help the wider UK economy but it’s better than nothing. If Britain doesn’t manufacture much to export, at least it can import people and their wallets and benefit from visitors’ generosity.