UK could face years of ‘anaemic growth’ warns busi­ness group

Yorkshire Post - - FRONT PAGE -

THE UK econ­omy faces sev­eral years of “anaemic” ac­tiv­ity un­less ac­tion is taken to end po­lit­i­cal un­cer­tainty and boost in­dus­try, a lead­ing busi­ness group has warned.

The Bri­tish Cham­bers of Com­merce (BCC) said eco­nomic growth was fore­cast to slow next year to just one per cent – the weak­est since the fi­nan­cial cri­sis a decade ago. It says by the end of 2020 the UK econ­omy will have ex­pe­ri­enced its sec­ond weak­est decade of av­er­age eco­nomic growth on record.

Its head of eco­nom­ics, Suren Thiru, said: “Our fore­cast points to sev­eral years of anaemic ac­tiv­ity in the UK econ­omy un­less de­ci­sive ac­tion is taken.

“An ex­pan­sion in gov­ern­ment spend­ing is likely to give a nudge to the UK econ­omy, who­ever wins the Gen­eral Elec­tion. How­ever, a slow­ing global econ­omy and un­re­lent­ing po­lit­i­cal un­cer­tainty are ex­pected to weaken busi­ness

in­vest­ment, trade and con­sumer spend­ing, lim­it­ing the UK’s growth tra­jec­tory.

“The down­side risks to the UK’s eco­nomic out­look re­main con­cern­ingly high. Wors­en­ing global trends and un­cer­tainty over the course of Brexit present real dan­gers for the UK econ­omy.

“More un­cer­tainty in the af­ter­math of the Gen­eral Elec­tion and a per­sis­tent lack of clar­ity on the UK’s fu­ture trad­ing re­la­tion­ships could also re­sult in more muted growth.”

BCC direc­tor gen­eral Adam Mar­shall added: “The needs of busi­ness have been glossed over in the Gen­eral Elec­tion cam­paign, and our lat­est fore­cast shows the dan­ger of al­low­ing this to con­tinue.

“As soon as the smoke clears from the elec­tion bat­tle­field, eco­nomic growth must be put front and cen­tre again in West­min­ster. No in­com­ing gov­ern­ment can de­liver its prom­ises to the electorate with­out healthy and thriv­ing busi­ness com­mu­ni­ties, or with­out a clear and de­tailed plan for the UK’s fu­ture re­la­tion­ship with the EU.

“As long as busi­nesses are held back by Brexit un­cer­tainty, high up-front costs, skills gaps and poor in­fra­struc­ture, we can ex­pect growth to be medi­ocre, at best.”

ADAM MAR­SHALL: ‘Brexit un­cer­tainty is hold­ing busi­nesses back’

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