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The Editors

The UK’s Next Leader Might Be Knee-Deep in a Recession

If the Bank of England’s latest economic forecasts are correct, Boris Johnson’s successor won’t have an easy time of it.

Careful what you wish for.

Careful what you wish for.

Photographer: Jonathan Hordle/ITV via Getty Images

The Bank of England startled analysts last week — not so much with its half-point increase in the policy interest rate to 1.75% as with its unexpectedly bleak assessment of Britain’s medium-term prospects. Its main projection shows a shallow but protracted recession, with roughly no growth in output over the next three years and inflation peaking at more than 13% before the end of 2022. Unemployment is expected to rise from a little under 4% of the labor force to more than 6% by 2025.

Officials rightly emphasize the uncertainty attached to all such projections. That should be kept in mind before drawing conclusions about the new forecast. Yet when all is said and done, one thing stands out: With Britain politically paralyzed and still awaiting the appointment of its next prime minister, the crisis could hardly have come at a worse time.