This year will be slightly worse than 2011, posits the BCC. Yes, really. Growth will sag by 0.2% on last year’s 0.8% figure and prospects abroad are equally weak. But at least we’re not heading for a full-on double dip. At least, we won’t unless Chancellor George Osborne does something silly, warns BCC Director General David Longworth.
‘Our economic forecast underlines the need for the government to deliver a Budget that will bring confidence to businesses,’ he says ‘The Chancellor must pull out the stops to enable British businesses to drive growth here at home.’
So what’s wee George got to contend with? Well, according to the BCC, unemployment will increase from the current 2.6m to 2.9m by 2013. And interest rates will stay low, hovering at the 0.5% mark until the final months of 2013. Bad news for savers. Good news for borrowers.
The BCC also warns that the extra Bank Holiday for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee will probably water down growth figures for the quarter. As for the Olympics, the lobby only knows that London 2012 will ‘distort’ figures. For good or for ill, it doesn’t say.
How accurate is the BCC usually? Back in August, it foresaw growth of 1.1% for 2011, putting 2012 growth at 2.1%. No Mystic Meg then...