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An idiot’s guide to…the ‘double-dip’

Being the wordsmith I am, you might be surprised to hear that my background is actually in economics.  As a result I’ve been listening intently to the news that the UK economy is experiencing its first ‘double-dip’ recession since 1975.

It’s almost impossible these days to read a newspaper, turn on the TV or even go shopping without being reminded of the dire situation our nation’s finances are in.

For the charity sector times of austerity can be particularly hard. Last year alone, over 250 charities – each with a turnover of £500,000 a year – were forced to shut down.

You don’t have to be an economist to do the maths. More people than ever are in need of help and charities have to respond to this fact under increased financial pressures; a shortfall is inescapable.


When ‘times are hard’ many people find it difficult to reconcile the need to give money overseas with the fact that so many people at home are struggling to make ends meet.

Contrary to popular belief, we do work in the UK. One example is our Eat, Sleep, Learn, Play project, which directly supports families living in severe poverty by providing them with essential items such as a child’s bed, a cooker or educational books and toys.

And when it comes to supporting our overseas work, time and time again the British public have proven their generous nature.

Justin Forsyth, our CEO, said it best when he stated that as a country, helping those less fortunate than ourselves is “part of our DNA”.

Global recession or not, we at Save the Children are committed to responding to the needs of children affected by emergencies, wherever they are. And when the lives of millions of children are at stake it’s good to know we can rely upon the generosity of the public to realise this commitment.


It’s with this in mind that I’d like to explore another ‘double-dip’ which is failing to garner both the national and international attention it evidently deserves.

Firstly let’s have a quick economics 101 and explain just what a double dip is.

From an economics perspective, a double dip is when gross domestic product (GDP) growth slides back to negative after a quarter or two of positive growth. Or in layman’s terms, when a recession is followed by a short-lived recovery and then followed by another recession again.

Hunger emergency

You might be surprised to hear that it’s not only our economy that is currently following this pattern. In east Africa poor rains, crop shortages and conflict are seriously threatening recovery from the 2011 crisis.

Early warning systems suggest that unless immediate preventative action is taken, any improvements in the situation following last year’s catastrophic food crisis could be wiped out.

Ultimately east Africa is facing the prospect of a ‘double-dip’ hunger emergency in which the recovery that began in the autumn proves all too short-lived. Raising adequate funding is paramount to prevent this from happening.

Last year, despite similar predictions of widespread hunger, funding wasn’t made available until a full-blown crisis was underway.  This delay cost thousands of lives and millions of pounds in aid money.

Our response to this looming crisis relies heavily on your generosity. We’re proud to be a nation that believes in helping those less fortunate than ourselves; a nation that considers giving to be “part of our DNA”.

Now is the time to prove it once again.

Help us save lives by donating to our East Africa Appeal

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