UK economy posts strong economic growth

The UK economy saw growth of 1.9% in 2013, the highest recorded since 2007, according to the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS). Growth for Q4 fell slightly on the previous quarter, dropping from 0.8% to 0.7%, but there was still widespread optimism that the figures suggested the recovery was continuing. The service sector, which accounts for more than 75% of economic output, matched its performance in Q4 with the previous quarter with 0.8% growth. Manufacturing saw a strong 0.9% increase in output. Director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, John Langworth, said: “Businesses across Britain are growing ever more bullish about their prospects. Our surveys now consistently show business confidence levels not seen for decades”. Growth forecasts for next year were also increased by both the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Office for Budget Responsibility following the latest figures, with between 2.4% and 3% growth predicted for 2014. Speculation about a rise in interest rates has increased in recent weeks, following a sharp drop in the unemployment rate and inflation dropping to the government’s target figure of 2%, but bank governor Mark Carney hinted a rise was unlikely any time in the near future.