Britain sees brighter 2017 as Brexit looms

- Agence France-Presse, London

Mar 9, 2017-

Britain’s economy will grow far stronger than expected this year, finance minister Philip Hammond said Wednesday, as the country readies to trigger its exit from the European Union.

With UK activity performing better than expected following its June referendum in favour of Brexit, Hammond said in a budget update the country’s gross domestic product growth would come in at 2.0 percent this year, much higher than the government’s previous 1.4-percent GDP forecast.

Highlighting however the uncertainty surrounding the UK economy as the country prepares to quit the EU, the earlier 1.4-percent forecast given in November was a sharp downgrade on a prior estimate of 2.2 percent.

“As we prepare for our future outside the EU we cannot rest on our past achievements,” Hammond told parliament Wednesday as he unveiled a series of measures, including new investment for British schools, as part of the government’s latest tax and spend plans.

Hammond said UK growth would stand at 1.6 percent next year, down slightly on a prior official estimate of 1.7 percent. And the Conservative government downgraded also its GDP forecasts for 2019 and 2020. The nation would however borrow far less this year than the amount predicted back in November.

Published: 09-03-2017 09:38

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