Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Growth slowdown expected amid cuts

Official figures are expected to show a sharp slowdown in economic growth

Concerns that deep public spending cuts could damage the UK's recovery from recession are expected to be fuelled later by official figures showing a sharp slowdown in economic growth.

Analysts are forecasting that the pace of growth will have been slashed by two-thirds over the summer as the recovery faltered following a surge in the second quarter.

Gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to have grown by 0.4% during the three months to the end of September, marking a fourth consecutive quarter of growth since the recession.

But that compares to a 1.2% boost between April and June.

On Monday, Prime Minister David Cameron promised a "relentless focus on growth" to help fill the hole left by the coalition's austerity measures, expected to cost 490,000 public sector jobs.

He used his speech to the CBI conference to urge business leaders to plough more of their profits into innovation, insisting his policies would unleash a "new economic dynamism".

But Labour leader Ed Miliband accused the Government of taking a "big gamble" by pushing through deep cuts that would destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs and act as a drag on UK plc.

Critics doubt the private sector has the capacity Mr Cameron believes it does to take up the slack in the economy as the Government's squeeze starts to bite.

At the weekend, Britain's new Nobel Prize winning economist, Professor Christopher Pissarides, warned that the Government was taking "unnecessary risks" when the economy remained weak.

Experts warned against reading too much into the latest figures, insisting that the slowdown was expected after the nine-year record high of the previous quarter.

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