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Economy 'to exceed levels from pre-slump'

GRAEME EVANS

THE UK economy will overtake its pre-recession peak by summer, according to upgraded forecasts from a business lobby group today.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) now believes the UK will grow by 2.8% this year and that the second quarter will see gross domestic product (GDP) climb back to the level seen in the first quarter of 2008.

A year ago amid a much gloomier picture for the economy, the BCC predicted the pre-recession peak would not be reached until 2016, although a number of revisions brought this forward to the third quarter of 2014 in December.

While it has taken more than six years to return the economy to the position it was in before it nosedived, it abates earlier fears of a lost decade.

BCC director general John Longworth said: "Our economic recovery is gaining momentum. Businesses across the UK are expanding and creating jobs, and our increasingly sunny predictions for growth are a testament to their drive and ambition."

The BCC expects the first increase in interest rates will happen in the autumn next year.

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