As the World Cup starts, I present the official World Bank rankings, for Rejoiners to ponder

Graham Charles Lear
4 min readNov 20, 2022


Goal ! — Brexit Britain’s GDP growth rates top EU’s table since the Referendum

As the World Cup starts, I present the official World Bank rankings, for Rejoiners to ponder

Just as the football World Cup is about to kick off in Qatar I looked at the scores for Brexit Britain since the EU Referendum, comparing the UK’s annual GDP growth rates with the EU’s three largest economies: Germany, France and Italy.

Rejoiners might find this surprising, but the United Kingdom tops the table and hoists the trophy. Given the world’s biggest sporting tournament is about to start, I felt it appropriate to use the World Bank’s official data.

Latest official scores from the World Bank since the EU Referendum

The UK beat Germany in the rankings in four out of the last six years, including last year.

The UK’s economy grew faster than the EU’s top 3 last year, and faster than any other G7 country.

[Source: World Bank national accounts data, and OECD National Accounts data files.]

Brexit Britain also outperformed George Osborne’s GDP ‘Project Fear’ forecasts

When looking at GDP since the EU Referendum it is also worth reminding ourselves what we were threatened with if we voted to leave the European Union. Most readers will still have vivid memories of the apocalyptic forecasts from the then Chancellor George Osborne, his HM Treasury, and the Bank of England.

The Treasury produced a 201-page long-term impact forecast on 18 April, followed by a 90-page short-term “immediate impact” forecast on 23 May 2016. Below we focus on the latter as it was released just 30 days before the British public voted and was heavily promoted in speeches by George Osborne, David Cameron, and large numbers of Remainer MPs.

George Osborne even referred to a vote to leave as a vote to inflict self-harm on the UK — the equivalent of ”an own goal” in m footballing analogy.

The Rt Hon George Osborne MP, former Chancellor of the Exchequer

“We already know the long-term effects of a vote to leave: Britain would be permanently poorer.

“Now we know the short-term shock too: an economy in recession, major job losses and a self-inflicted blow to living standards and aspirations of the British people.”

- George Osborne, 23 May 2016

HM Treasury’s report

“A vote to leave would cause an immediate and profound economic shock creating instability and uncertainty which would be compounded by the complex and interdependent negotiations that would follow. The central conclusion of the analysis is that the effect of this profound shock would be to push the UK into recession and lead to a sharp rise in unemployment.”

“In the shock scenario, a vote to leave would result in a recession, a spike in inflation and a rise in unemployment. The analysis shows that the economy would fall into recession with four quarters of negative growth. After two years, GDP would be around 3.6% lower in the shock scenario compared with a vote to remain.”

- HM Treasury, ‘The immediate economic impact of leaving the EU’, 23 May 2016

What happened to your “immediate recession”, George?

As the World Bank and OECD figures above prove, there never was any recession. In 2016 and 2017 the UK economy continued to grow at a rate higher than the long-term average.

In 2018 and 2019 the UK economy kept on growing. The rate was marginally lower than the previous two years, but there was still no Osborne-Cameron recession. It should be noted that Germany’s drop in GDP growth was much greater — and yet Germany hadn’t voted for ‘Dexit’.

Once again I have presented some inconvenient truths for the increasingly well-funded Rejoin campaigns to try to explain away.

Rejoiners (in the campaign organisations and in the BBC and other broadcast media) are constantly referring to the UK’s economy not having recovered to its pre-Covid levels — as if Brexit caused Covid.

Then it came to pass we British had a referendum to leave the EU

Then came Covid that decimated the world and its economy including the UK’s.

Then came along Putin who confounded matters and really twatted the world economy including the UK.

Then came Rejoiners who blamed it all on Brexit.

Yes, that’s how dumb some people can be.

The economic damage caused by the Government’s Covid policies has absolutely nothing to do with the British people’s decision to leave the EU. It seems extraordinary that I have to point this out but these days it seems I must.

Brexit Britain wins the tournament and lifts the cup — but the next one won’t be so easy

Following the Hunt-Sunak-OBR “poverty budget” on Thursday, I am pessimistic that Brexit Britain can maintain its winning status in the next few years. I very much hope I am proved wrong. If I am right, however, it will have nothing to do with Brexit but rather with the Government’s economic policies and with the absence of the delivery of the Brexit benefits

Sources: World Bank | OECD | HM Treasury | George Osborne



Graham Charles Lear

What is life without a little controversy in it? Quite boring and sterile would be my answer.