CBI: growth up, Scottish membership down

Growth expectations are their highest since the CBI started its survey in 2003. Shame the same can't be said of its membership after its Scottish faux pas.

by Rachel Savage
Last Updated: 12 May 2014

What better way to start a Monday morning than with some positive economic news? MT has cheered up anyway, after the CBI reported firms’ growth expectations are their highest since it started surveying them back in 2003.
 
‘The outlook for the next three months is exceptionally strong and broad-based,’ the business lobby group said, noting growth had ‘strengthened’ in retail and services and was ‘solid’ in manufacturing.
 
Output rose in April from March’s eight-month low, well above average, according to the survey of 675 companies.
 
There have been worries the UK’s accelerating growth (along with falling unemployment and wage rises outstripping inflation) has been fuelled by an  unsustainable combination of debt and consumer spending. However, the CBI thinks this could be changing.
 
‘While consumer spending accounted for the lion’s share of GDP growth last year, there are firm indications of growth becoming more broad-based… business investment has consistently contributed to quarterly growth since 2013,’ CBI chief policy director Katja Hall said.
 
The CBI will no doubt be hoping some economic cheerleading will distract from its disastrous segue into the Scottish independence debate. The group’s Scottish arm registered as a 'no' campaigner last week, only to have Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Glasgow universities, the BBC, broadcaster STV and the Law Society of Scotland resign their membership to preserve neutrality.
 
The decision was hastily reversed, with director John Cridland blaming it on a junior member of staff in London (which looks way more competent and well thought out). CBI Scotland director Iain McMillan announced he was retiring over the weekend too, which the group claimed had been planned for the last couple of years. Bet it wishes it could just get back to good news reporting…

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