According to recent predictions by The International Monetary Fund (IMF) the UK economy will be the fastest-growing in the G7 during 2014 with a growth of 2.9% in 2014, and a growth of 2.5% in 2015.This has been partly due to easier credit conditions and increased confidence. But it cautions that the recovery has been unbalanced, with business investment and exports still disappointing.*
Similarly, The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) claims that UK growth in the first part of 2014 has been “robust”, and estimated that UK output grew by 0.9% in the three months ending in March. Nevertheless, NIESR also believes that the UK economic recovery was “in its infancy” and that it did not expect the Bank of England to raise interest rates until the middle of 2015.
The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) paints a similar picture of the UK economy, and despite forecasting a 2.7% growth, has concerns about the nature of that growth. Consumer spending, fuelled by weaker saving, drove much of the recent upturn, while productivity growth and growth in earnings had remained “disappointing”. Despite the government’s push for several years to boost exports, the OBR expects net trade to be lacklustre for years to come. **
In the workplace, there is similar reserved optimism. Many smaller businesses are looking to create jobs, with UK job creation at its highest rate in months. However, there is an increasing risk of a skills shortage which could impact growth, and although wages are expected to rise in 2014, real wages are not expected to reach their pre-recession peak until 2017.
But business investment is on the rise. The improved economic outlook, together with low borrowing costs is securing business investment, which will help businesses to export more, build more and manufacture more. Securing a private sector-led recovery is essential to delivering long-term sustainable growth in the UK. So with fewer economic risks, should businesses be focusing on growth, taking opportunities and investing more? Are businesses really seeing a change in the economy? Will the South East continue to grow faster than the rest of the country?
To help make sense of the various messages emanating from politicians and economists, law firm Hart Brown will hold their 10th Annual Economic Forum, on Tuesday 24th June at the University of Surrey, which will see leading economists and business figures discussing their perceptions on the state of the economy. The panel of speakers will comprise Mark Berrisford-Smith, Chief Economist of HSBC, Justin Urquhart Stewart, Co-founder & Marketing Director, Seven Investment Management, and Adrian White CBE, Executive Chairman and Founder of Biwater. There will be opportunities for delegates to ask questions of the speakers, on topics relating to the economy in the South East of England, and how businesses here should plan ahead.
“We are often told by attendees that the Hart Brown Economic Forum is one of the major business networking events held in Surrey,” commented Nigel Maud? Chief Operating Officer at Hart Brown who will be hosting the evening. “With over 400 expected delegates, it provides a unique opportunity for the business leaders in our area to come together in an informal setting, and to listen to the views of some of the top commentators on the economy and business.”
The Economic Forum is support by Guildford Borough Council and The University of Surrey.
If you would like to attend the Hart Brown Annual Economic Forum please register online at http://www.economic-forum.co.uk/ or by calling Hart Brown on 01483 887766. The event is free to attend but registration is essential.