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Growth rate a solid foundation for businesses, but challenges remain

26 Jan 2018

city longonResponding to official preliminary GDP growth statistics for the fourth quarter of 2017, showing that the economic growth rate was 0.5%, Tej Parikh, Senior Economist at the Institute of Directors, said:

“This first estimate of growth in the last three months of 2017 exceeded expectations, showing the UK’s resilience and providing a solid foundation for the economy this year. But we mustn’t let that lull us into a false sense of security, with 2018 promising to be a year of flux for businesses. 

“The data is very much a mixed bag. Strength in the manufacturing sector, supported by the weak currency and global growth, is set to support the economy this year, but the construction industry remains in recession. At the same time, while the services sector grew in the fourth quarter, consumer-facing sectors appeared to be weakening. This is likely a result of households being caught between high inflation and subdued wage growth.

“Of course, a lot will depend on how well – and quickly – Brexit negotiations play out. To that end, with ongoing uncertainty surrounding investment, contingency plans, and access to skills, confidence within the business community will be a key variable in determining how the economy will ultimately perform this year. This makes David Davis’ speech today all the more significant as he sets out the UK’s preference for the all-important transition arrangement.”

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