"UK £490bn poorer"? Try £61bn richer after Brexit vote

Hysterical headlines designed to negatively influence Brexit negotiations.

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The so-called "Problem"

So the UK being "£490 billion poorer" was a headline everyone woke up to this morning - from The Telegraph's Ambrose Evans-Pritchard (or if you prefer The Independent: "half a trillion pounds that has gone missing" that "weakens [the UK's] position in Brexit talks"). This is based on the UK's net investment position being revised downwards by the Office of National Statistics, from an earlier estimate.

As usual, the initial headlines are ridiculous and bordering on financially illiterate.

Why this is nonsense

1. The UK's financial position is £61 billion better off than at the time of the Brexit vote (-£101.2bn versus -£162.20bn) and £268 billion better than in Q3 2015 (-£101.2bn versus -£369.30bn)

2. The ONS regularly revises original estimates. It is standard procedure. No money has "gone missing".

3. This revision was done two weeks ago - with the data released on the 29 Sep 2017. Yet the headlines just so happened to hit the day Theresa May is in Brussels for Brexit talks ahead of a European Council Summit. Funny coincidence. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard isn't even a die-hard Remainer, if he didn't intend this result of hysterical misinterpretation of his headline then he still should have known better.

This is a non-story. Move along.

Oh, and Continuity Remain? Constantly jumping on every potential negative headline before you've even checked it out transparently reveals your hope for the country to fail and real people to get hurt, just because you lost a vote. It is not a good look.


Don't believe this? Download the ONS Balance of Payments data and see for yourself (Table K, Row 55)