, 24 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter

As we approach the crunch Brexit votes, let's look at the economic picture that helps explain how we got to here. This is drawn from the final report of the @IPPR Commission on Economic Justice.

The data is shocking.

The 2007-8 financial crisis led to the deepest recession since WW2, with output falling by 4.2% in 2009 alone

Since then, the UK has seen its slowest recovery after any recession in the postwar period, taking more than 5 years for GDP to recover to its pre-recession peak

Once population growth and remittances are taken into account, disposable income per person only returned to its pre-crisis level at the end 2016, creating almost a lost decade of economic output.

But people don't experience the economy as national aggregates.

For most people, the last decade has seen little or no improvement in living standards.

In 2018, median earnings were 2-3% below their 2007-08 level.

The UK is one of only 5 developed countries where earnings are still below their 2007 level.

The squeeze on living standards has happened *despite* economic growth.

For the first time in recorded history, average weekly earnings have decoupled from GDP growth.

The country has been getting richer, but most people in work are no better off.

The last 10 years exacerbates a story stretching back over decades.

Over the last 40 years, half the population has barely shared in the growth of the economy at all.

From 1979 to 2012, only 10% of overall income growth went to the bottom 50% of the income distribution

Meanwhile, the richest 10% took almost 40% of the total growth in income.

There has been a long-term decline in the share of national income that goes to wages and salaries.

In the mid-70s, the labour share was 70% vs 55% today, according to the Bank of England

The UK economy has been good at generating jobs.

Employment is at record highs, with 75.6% of the working-age population now in work.

At 4.2%, unemployment is at its lowest level for 40 years.

But more and more people are now in precarious work.

Surveys indicate that as much as 8% of the workforce is now under-employed: that is, wanting to work more hours than they can find.

Self-employment has risen to 15% of the workforce, or 4.8m people. This reflects many employers seeking to shirk their responsibilities.

Almost 1 million people are now on zero hours contracts which provide little or no security.

Many of those working in such casualised conditions experience the kind of exploitation, ill-health and stress that was thought to have been consigned to the 19th century.

As a result of these changes in patterns of employment, low-paid work has become more prevalent.

Having a job is no longer a reliable route out of poverty.

More people in poverty live in working households than non-working households.

Overall, 14 million people (22%) live on incomes below the poverty line after housing costs.

This includes 4 million children, or nearly 1 in 3, and the number is rising.

As the growth of homelessness and food banks shows, life is desperately hard for many people.

The UK is one of the most unequal of western European countries.

There remains a 6-fold difference between the incomes of the top 20% and the bottom 20%.

Inequality between the richest 1% and the rest of UK society continues to rise.

Although falling, the gender pay gap has remained stubbornly higher in the UK than the European average.

Median hourly pay among women is 18.4% lower than for men.

A similar pay gap exists between white and BAME workers.

Inequalities of wealth are larger than those of income.

44% of the UK's wealth is owned by just 10% of the population--5 times the total wealth held by the poorest 50%.

The richest 1% are estimated to own 14% of the nation's wealth.

There is a sharply intergenerational aspect to wealth inequality.

The huge growth in property values since the early 1990s and the decline in final salary pensions have made older generations wealthier.

Younger people are now set to be poorer than their parents.

Millennial families are only half as likely to own their own home by the age of 30 as were the baby boomer generation born in the 20 years after WW2.

They are 4X more likely to be renting privately.

On average a quarter of millennials income is now spent on housing.

The UK is starkly divided by geography.

Median incomes in NW, NE, W Mids, Wales & SW are now 30% lower than London & SE (in Scotland, they are 20% lower).

London is the richest region in northern Europe, yet 6/10 of the poorest regions are also in the UK.

The economy experienced by so many people today is not just.

Too many are struggling to make ends meet, seeing their living standards stagnate or even fall.

Too few are able to look forward to the future with hope.

Brexit is not the cause of our longstanding economic problems.

Our problems originate in Westminster, not Brussels

The paradox of Brexit is that it was a vote for change that makes change itself more likely to occur, but the right kind of change much harder to achieve.

The crisis we face today is the product of the status quo that preceded it.

And since the vote to leave the EU, there has been very little progress in tackling the injustices that framed that decision.

The injustices are ablaze.

The question for MPs is whether leaving the EU on the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement will enhance or diminish our ability to solve our collective problems.

If it means we are less able to solve our self-authored problems, then surely it is time to rethink.

MPs would do well to take a step back and ask themselves where the national interest is to be found, and whether they are advancing it.

We live in an era of profound economic injustice. People rightly expect their politicians to address it.

But if they fail to connect the arguments of Brexit to the everyday experiences of the economy, then they will have failed.

Democracy means governing by consent. Without a radical change in political discourse, MPs risk losing it.

It's time for radical change.

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