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So Moody’s has downgraded the UK. This country’s sovereign debt has dropped one notch from AAA, the lowest possible credit risk, to AA1. For the first time since 1978, Britain has lost its triple-A rating.

The markets saw this coming. All three major credit ratings agencies – the others being Standard and Poor’s and Fitch – have had the UK on “negative outlook” for some time, suggesting a downgrade would follow if the economy deteriorated further. Well, GDP contracted by 0.3pc during the last three months of 2012, we learnt a few weeks ago, as Britain flirts with triple-dip recession.
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