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We shouldn’t get too excited about the news that the economy grew 0.6% in the second quarter of the year, even if the figure is more impressive than any seen for a while now. As many have pointed out, we have not yet made back all the growth lost since the pre-recession peak, and the country lags behind America in clawing its way back to rude health.
However, there are reasons for optimism, with the most encouraging element being that all four sectors of the British economy are growing – the first time that this has happened since the third quarter of 2003. Consumers seem to be more optimistic, despite the continued pressure on wages and CPI growth that remains above the Bank of England’s target.
The trick now will be to move from a recovery that is inching along with careful help from the Bank of England to one that is self-sustaining. More investment from companies would be ideal, with perhaps the odd tax cut thrown into the mix to provide an additional fillip to confidence.
The UK has endured the slowest recovery from a recession in a hundred years. Today’s GDP figures show that some signs of life are out there, but it will take more than new additions to the line of succession to bring real growth. Today’s is only a first step.