'County will rise above gloomy predictions'

Lancashire business chiefs said today they were 'concerned' about the latest forecasts over the British economy.

Tuesday, 19th June 2018, 1:22 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th June 2018, 3:40 pm
Lancashire's economy is battling several factors

But there are signs that the county will rise above the gloomy predictions.

The British Chambers of Commerce slightly downgraded its growth expectations for the UK economy, forecasting GDP growth for 2018 at just 1.3 per cent (from 1.4 per cent).

If realised, it will be the weakest calendar year growth since 2009 when the economy was in the throes of recession

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The BCC has also downgraded its GDP growth forecast for 2019 from 1.5 per cent to 1.4 per cent.

The downgrades have been largely driven by a more lacklustre outlook for consumer spending, business investment and trade.

While real wage growth has returned to positive territory, the UK’s leading business group does not expect this to translate into materially stronger spending over the forecast horizon.

The BCC says the UK’s net trade position is expected to weaken over the next few years by more than expected in the previous forecast. It says exporters will struggle to recover the ground lost in the year so far.

Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the BCC, said: “The UK now faces another extended period of weak growth amidst a backdrop of both domestic and global uncertainty.”

Alan Welsh, policy manager at the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, said the latest county survey due to be unveiled in July was not yet fully ready.

He said: “The BCC economic forecast for the next two years is concerning. However, from a Lancashire perspective, the indications from our latest economic survey are that there has been improvement in a number of measures compared with the first three months of 2018.

“Business confidence remains high with 90 per cent of firms expecting turnover to improve or remain constant over the next 12 months.”