UK dodges recession at the start of the year but warning lights continue to flash – London Business News

UK GDP rose 0.1% in the first three months of 2023, figures out today showed.

Business investment revised up to a robust 3.3%
Household real disposable income 0.8% down on the previous quarter.

Danni Hewson, head of financial analysis at AJ Bell, comments on the latest UK GDP figures: “There’s nothing particularly surprising to be learnt from this set of figures. The UK has limped through the first few months of the year thanks to a surprisingly resilient consumer market and what is likely to have been a rush by businesses to make the most of generous tax breaks on investment before they came to an end.

“But warning signs are already flashing madly, with household disposable income further eroded by the constant pain of price rises and fewer people with the ability to put a bit away for a rainy day or take advantage of the interest rate hikes which are causing such misery for so many.

“With hundreds of thousands of mortgage holders about to be clobbered by increased monthly payments there’s little doubt the service sector is in for a rough ride.

“And despite April’s positive update May’s additional bank holiday is expected to have dragged growth down considerably, so it will be the current month’s performance that economists, politicians and businesses will really be concerned with.

“Our high street retailers suggest that wage increases have helped offset the erosion of living standards to a great degree, but many households are clinging on by their fingernails and an extra bill or mortgage upset is expected to turn things on its head for lots of families.

“Any growth is good but remember this growth still leaves the UK economy struggling to make up the ground it lost during the pandemic, and although we are in the same boat as Germany, the failure to have properly capitalised on the reopening momentum is cause for concern.”

 

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