THE economic future facing the UK in 2023 is “as bad as it gets” and will be “much worse” than the pandemic, top economists have said – as experts warn that the public is set to pay a high price for the Tories’ failures.

The news comes from the annual survey of 101 of top economic experts conducted by the Financial Times, which found that more than 80% believe the UK will lag behind its peers over the coming 12 months.

Brexit, Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng’s disastrous mini-budget, and the crisis facing the NHS and other public services were all cited as reasons for the UK’s poor outlook.

READ MORE: 'F***ed': Brits have bleak outlook for life in UK in 2023, poll shows

Diane Coyle, a public policy professor at Cambridge University, said the UK was in “a structural hole, not a cyclical downturn” and warned that living standards were unlikely to improve “unless some sanity returns to our trade relations with the EU”.

Jonathan Portes, a professor of economics at King’s College London, also hit out at Brexit, calling it a “slow puncture for the UK economy”.

The FT reported that more than a quarter of respondents to its economists’ survey said Brexit would continue to be a drag on UK economic growth.

John Philpott, an independent labour market economist, warned that the “2023 recession will feel much worse than the economic impact of the pandemic”, while Kallum Pickering, a senior economist at Berenberg Bank, said: “The combination of falling real wages, tight financial conditions and a housing market correction are as bad as it gets.”

The FT said that economists variously thought the outlook for consumers was “tough”, “bleak”, “grim”, “miserable”, and “terrible”.

The sentiments align with those expressed by the UK public in a recent poll asking which word or phrase came to mind when they thought about the year ahead. Bleak, worrying, and f***ed were among the most popular answers.

That poll, conducted by People’s Polling, also found that a massive 70% of people said they were “not confident at all” that Rishi Sunak’s Conservatives would be able to reduce the cost of living in 2023.

And economists also blamed the poor state of the economy on the Tories.

“By now, the economy is in much deeper trouble than it needed to be if it had been competently managed,” Panicos Demetriades, a former governor of Cyprus's central bank, told FT. He added that the UK is “the sick man of the G7”.