Belfast Telegraph

Economists slash growth forecasts

The UK economy will grow at less than half the pace forecast by the Government's independent watchdog in 2012 as the nation faces up to its most brutal year since 2009, experts have warned.

A survey of leading economists forecast growth of 0.3% next year on average - less than half the 0.7% pencilled in by the Office for Budget Responsibility.

An even worse outcome looms if Europe's debt crisis gets worse. The Centre for Economics and Business Research has warned that the eurozone could shrink by 2% if leaders fail to get to grips with debt woes - wiping €200 billion off the single currency bloc and crippling the UK's biggest trading partner.