02 February 2017
Businesses leaders in Birmingham have welcomed the Bank of England’s decision to hold interest rates at 0.25 per cent – and its announcement of a dramatic rise in its growth forecast for this year.
The Bank said it expects the economy to grow 2 per cent in 2017, up from a November forecast of 1.4 per cent, which was itself an upgrade from the 0.8 per cent forecast made last August.
Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce chief executive Paul Faulkner (pictured) said the decision to revise the growth forecast was an “encouraging sign” of the economy’s growing strength.
He said: “Whereas it was anticipated that the Bank of England would keep the rate of inflation at a record low level, it was a pleasant surprise to see the Monetary Policy Committee reconsider their predicted growth projections for the next three years.
“Again, this is an encouraging sign of the UK economy’s inherent ability to withstand inflationary pressures and outperform all expectations. No doubt, the Government’s announcements around the Industrial Strategy and the National Productivity Plan have played a part in channelling this positive sentiment.
“Furthermore, much of the reforecast has been predicated on stronger consumer spending, however, it remains to be seen whether we will see a rise in inflation levels materialising from the invocation of Article 50.
“Next week sees the start of surveying for our latest Quarterly Business Report - we would encourage local businesses to take part as we will then be able to assess whether this optimism will translate into sustained economic growth for businesses in our region.”