UK heading to lowest growth since 2009

Latest official figures show Britain is heading toward its weakest year of economic growth in almost a decade due to what has been described as a backlash from the country’s vote to leave the European Union (EU).

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) in a statement said the country’s gross domestic product would grow by only 1.3 percent in 2018, down from the 1.4 percent it had previously forecast.

The BCC blamed lackluster consumer spending, business investment and trade for Britain’s anticipated poor economic performance.

“If realised, [this] will be the weakest calendar year growth since 2009, when the economy was in the throes of the global financial crisis,” the Financial Times quoted the BCC statement as saying.

It also forecast the UK economy will go into “a torpor” because of high household debt combined with forecast low business investment and weak trade.

The vast majority of economists expect Britain’s departure from the European Union to hit growth in the medium term, the daily warned.

It quoted an announcement by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in April that Britain’s economy would perform worse than the rest of Europe, except Italy, over the next two years because of higher barriers to trade and lower foreign direct investment caused as a result of leaving the EU.

“The next few years are set to be a testing time for business in the UK,” BCC director-general Adam Marshall said, while also urging Theresa May’s government not to become too distracted by the protracted debate about how Britain will extricate itself from the EU.

“Brexit cannot be Westminster’s only priority. Businesses across the country want to see far more urgency around fixing the fundamentals here at home and a concerted effort to lower the high costs of doing business,” the Financial Times quoted him as saying.

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