Surprisingly the UK economy has spent more time in recession as a member of the EEC/EU vs recessions suffered in the 40 years of time pre EU membership!

A recession is when an economy has suffered 2 full quarters (a quarter is 3 months, so 2 quarters is a full 6 months) in negative economic growth: an economy shrinks whilst in recession.

UK Recessions Between 1973 and 2013 (40 years EEC/EU Membership)

Since Joining the EEC/EU in 1973 the UK has Suffered 5 Years of Economic Decline

Since Joining the EEC/EU in 1973 the UK has Suffered 5 Years of Economic Decline

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Since joining the EEC/EU in 1973 the UK has suffered FOUR periods in recession totaling 20 quarters or 5 years of economic decline.

Mid-1970s Recessions During EEC/EU Membership

Mid-1970s UK Recessions as an EEC/EU Member

Mid-1970s UK Recessions as an EEC/EU Member

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Causes: 1973 oil crisis, stagflation, the decline of traditional British industries, inefficient production, high inflation caused industrial disputes over pay.

Period in Recession

1973 Q3: -1.0%
1973 Q4: -0.4%
1974 Q1: -2.7%

1975 Q2: -1.7%
1975 Q3: -0.3%

Total of 5 quarters in recession.

Note: there were two single quarters of negative growth, but a single quarter of negative growth is NOT a recession.

Early 1980s Recession During EEC/EU Membership

Early 1980s UK Recession During EEC/EU Membership

Early 1980s UK Recession During EEC/EU Membership

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Causes: Deflationary government policies including spending cuts, pursuance of monetarism to reduce inflation, switch from a manufacturing economy to a services economy.

Period in Recession

1980 Q1: -1.7%
1980 Q2: -2.0%
1980 Q3: -0.2%
1980 Q4: -1.0%
1981 Q1: -0.3%

Total of 5 quarters in recession.

Early 1990s Recession During EEC/EU Membership

Early 1990s UK Recession During EEC/EU Membership

Early 1990s UK Recession During EEC/EU Membership

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Causes: US savings and loan crisis, high bank rate in response to rising inflation caused by the Lawson Boom and to maintain British membership of the Exchange Rate Mechanism.

Period in Recession

1990 Q3: -1.1%
1990 Q4: -0.4%
1991 Q1: -0.3%
1991 Q2: -0.2%
1991 Q3: -0.3%

Total of 5 quarters in recession.

Great Recession During EEC/EU Membership

UK Great Recession During EEC/EU Membership

UK Great Recession During EEC/EU Membership

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Causes: Late 2000s financial crisis, rising global commodity prices, subprime mortgage crisis infiltrating the British banking sector, significant credit crunch.

Period in Recession

2008 Q2: -0.2%
2008 Q3: -1.7%
2008 Q4: -2.2%
2009 Q1: -1.8%
2009 Q2: -0.3%

Total of 5 quarters in recession.

Note: there were four further single quarters of negative growth (2010 Q4 (-0.4); 2011 Q4 (-0.1); 2012 Q2 (-0.5); and 2012 Q4 (-0.2)), but a single quarter of negative growth is NOT a recession.

Total quarters in recession between 1973 and 2013 equals 20 quarters or five years.

UK Recessions Between 1933 and 1973 (40 years Before EEC/EU Membership)

In the 40 years before joining the EEC/EU in 1973 the UK has suffered TWO periods in recession. Expand the period to 46 years and it’s THREE periods in recession.

1956 Recession Before EEC/EU Membership

1956 UK Recession Before EEC/EU Membership

1956 UK Recession Before EEC/EU Membership

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Causes: Uncompetitive motor industry, inflationary pressures, credit squeeze caused by high bank rate, effects of the Suez crisis – oil embargo by NATO and other Arab countries.

Period in Recession

1956 Q2: -0.2%
1956 Q3: -0.1%

Total of 2 quarters in recession.

1961 Recession Before EEC/EU Membership

1961 UK Recession Before EEC/EU Membership

1961 UK Recession Before EEC/EU Membership

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Causes: Time lag from the ‘Rolling Adjustment’ recession in America and high bank rate.

Period in Recession

1961 Q3: -0.5%
1961 Q4: -0.2%

Total of 2 quarters in recession.

Total quarters in recession between 1933 and 1973 equals 4 quarters or one year.

But What if we Take the Full 1973 to 2019 (46 years) of EEC/EU Membership Period?

If we take the full 46 years of EEC/EU membership vs the previous 46 years before EU membership (1927 to 1973) this adds no additional recessions for the EEC/EU period, but adds the Great Depression (1930-1931) to the pre-membership period.

Great Depression Before EEC/EU Membership

Causes: US Depression. Reducing demand for UK exports, also high interest rate defending the gold standard.

Period in Recession

Didn’t find a list of the % growth lost for each quarter, but from https://niesr.ac.uk/sites/default/files/publications/dp348.pdf (Table 2a: 1924-38 Quarterly GDP at Market Prices, £mn 1938 prices page 14) which shows there were 6 quarters of GDP decline.

1930 Q2:
1930 Q3:
1930 Q4:
1931 Q1:
1931 Q2:
1931 Q3:

Total of 6 quarters in recession.

Total quarters in recession between 1927 and 1973 equals 10 quarters or two and a half years.

If we exclude the Great Depression the UK suffered 1 year in recession in the 40 years before joining the EEC/EU.

If we include the Great Depression the UK suffered 2 1/2 years in recession in the 46 years before joining the EEC/EU.

Compare this to 5 years in recession for either the 40 years or 46 years of EEC/EU membership.

Spin it how you like, the UK has either spent twice as long in recession as an EU member or five times as long in recession as an EEC/EU member.

No, I don’t blame the EU for the 5 years the UK has been in recession. What this shows is the narrative that EU membership is all sunlit uplands is for the Unicorns.

David Cameron Law
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: Studied Molecular Genetics BSc at Uni, 15+ years as an SEO consultant working with small to medium size businesses. 10+ years developing SEO software. Main Interests: Politics, Business, SEO, Web Development, Science, Nature .