Weathermen hit back at Osborne blaming snow


5:09 pm - January 25th 2011

by Sunny Hundal    


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The British Weather Services have today sent out a press release disputing the chancellor George Osborne’s claim that snow was to blame for the worsening GDP figures.

The press release states:

British Weather Services hold a daily historic database of UK weather for over 250 UK and Irish weather stations. The database provides details on all aspects of weather, from air temperature and wind speeds through to snow depths and sunshine.

Senior Risk Meteorologist Jim Dale says, “For every drop of rain or flake of snow, for every fall and rise in temperature there is a commensurate rise and fall in the demand and supply of the UK’s good and services. It’s our job to provide to companies big and small the very telling figures that link the weather numbers with what actually went on re performance.”

There is no doubt that the very severe conditions of late November and December would have impacted on UK plc – but there are two sides to every story, Jim explains. “Where there is a weather loser there tends to be a weather winner on the opposite end of the fence, so construction and high street shops may have had it bad for example, but retailers selling cold weather items such as winter clothing, motor factors and comfort foods would have done well out of the ice and snow, not to mention warm and inviting indoor shopping centres, many of which boasted record footfall figures during the period.

Indeed, recent financial reports from some of our biggest companies indicate a mixed pattern of returns, precisely what we would expect to see during a lengthy period of extreme weather”.

British Weather Services also point out that weather can only be partially responsible for the GDP fall, given that October and most of November “were reasonably benign weather-wise”.

How embarrassing for Osborne.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


It was silly of him to blame the dip on the weather, although in fairness he was simply repeating what the ONS told him.

2. scandalousbill

It would seem to me that if the Tory led coalition or ONS wish to blame the weather, (Gideon has stated this as a *huge Factor”), they should be at least able to indicate how many trading days were lost and how that impacts over at least two months in the quarter where the weather had no impact.

I recall a few days of snow bound impacts, but no prolonged total shutdown and nothing comparable to the Great Ice Age or the Pakistani floods.

Have to say watching the clip of Osborne saying it was the weather looked a little desperate, like he couldn’t think of a better reason. No idea what his advisors are being paid for right now…

I’m amazed he did not blame the weather on Gordon Brown.

Sally ” I’m amazed he didn’t blame the weather on Gordon Brown”

Amazing coincidence! I was about to post this very sentiment myself – But what happens if and when the weather improves and the economy continues to freeze? I bet Osborne’s advisers are working on that one right now -” Gordon Brown still casting a long shadow over the green shoots of recovery?” Yes they’ll buy that – it’s more convincing than – wrong kind of Chancellor.

Thank God for the Great British sense of humour or we’d all be a stiff as the brickies fingers in the snow.

Presumably, in the unlikely event that the economy manages to pick up by the summer, then Osborne will duly give the credit to the improved weather, rather than taking any credit for himself…

@1 Richard

You are probably right Richard, but does this not highlight that GO does not have an indepenedant thought in his head. His reponses are so carefully scripted if he is asked a question he is not sure of he just repeats the script which tends to make him look rather silly.

I would like to know what the Tory Trolls have to say about this, as they seem to swarm all over the other pages.

10. the a&e charge nurse

The ‘Chauncey Gardner’ school of economics, eh?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_B0sqowD6w&feature=related

Richard is absaloutely right – read page 7 of the actual ONS report.

http://www.statistics.gov.uk/pdfdir/gdp0111.pdf

The ONS report assumes a -0.5% reduction in GDP due to the weather, but as it is a preliminary report, as always the last month of the quarter in particular is purely an estimate.

What else is Osborne supposed to do except quote the source of the info?

Admittadly even allowing for the 0.5% the figures are still slightly worse than expected.

The Coalition’s economic policy is a brainless ideologically driven shambles! Can I invite the readers of this website to check out Allthatsleft.co.uk if you are interested in this subject then you may enjoy the following –
http://www.allthatsleft.co.uk/2011/01/gideon-blames-the-weather/

Don’t get too excited folks – have you not considered that the negative impact of thousands of cancelled orders, motorways and airports closed, building sites virtually abandoned for three weeks might just outweigh the positive effect of a few extra scarves and snow shovels? Would make sense, no?

Germany has had one of the hardest winters in 2010/2011, and its GDP grew at an impressive pace.

@ 12 yes, a thorough in depth analysis why the spending cuts are obviously wrong. Like usual no mention of how the deficit will be cut or the crippling impact of our ever increasing interest bill.

Germany has had one of the hardest winters in 2010/2011, and its GDP grew at an impressive pace.

Germans have grit. The British have demonstrated in recent years that they’ve lost all their grit. And I don’t mean the stuff you put down on the roads when it’s slippery.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
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