By

Mark Littlewood, Director General at the Institute of Economic Affairs

With 100 days until the General Election, the UK economy is off the critical list, but not yet in rude health. The GDP figures for the last quarter are what we might expect in a normal world in the coming years, given constraints on the supply-side of the economy and an ageing population. Whilst growth overall for the past year has been solid, it’s easier to recover from a crash — however slowly - than to continue to grow at such a clip over the long term.

And although the economy is now much bigger than pre-crisis, most households - historically used to getting richer by 2% per annum - will only now be feeling that the worst is over.

It will likely be the time of the next election in 2020 before we have eliminated the deficit and we shouldn't treat today’s news as mission accomplished. A balanced budget should be treated as the norm. Over the long-run, state spending needs to fall to around 35% of GDP, and that must be the new normal.