Brexit Clarity Needed To Protect Business

4th December 2017.

The CBI has called for clarity on Brexit transition arrangements as it forecasts two years of tepid economic growth.

In its latest economic forecast, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) warns that uncertainty over Brexit will hit business investment, while consumers will continue to suffer from a squeeze in real wages.

Rain Newton-Smith, CBI chief economist warns of a “steady but sluggish” economic growth over the next few years. “

The CBI expects GDP growth of 1.5 per cent for this year and next and a mere 1.3 per cent in 2019.

Ms Newton-Smith said the one bright spot was “more support from net exports, encouraged by the lower pound and a reviving global economy”. Newton-Smith’s view is supported by the latest survey from the EEF manufacturers’ association.

The EEF reported that for the first time in a decade manufacturers had found “output and orders positives  in every quarter”, helped by improvements in demand and an increased export performance.

According to the survey, manufacturing growth has reached 2.1 per cent this year and 1.4 per cent in 2018.

Lee Hopley, the EEF’s chief economist, said the government needed to follow through on plans outlined last week in its industrial strategy to maintain momentum.

“Government’s industrial strategy is now out of the starting blocks but it needs to maintain a steady pace on delivery of its policy commitments to anchor manufacturers’ growth and investment in the year ahead,” she said.

Ms Newton-Smith emphasised that the strategy was dependent on a “good Brexit”, and stressed how damaging continued uncertainty could have on business.

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