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Budget 2011: Weak Q4 and price rises hit growth forecasts

Simon Quicke

The government has outlined plans to reform the economy to encourage growth arguing that it has already taken the measures to provide economic stability.

Chancellor George Osborne used his second Budget to talk up the positive after using the emergency budget last year to announce cuts. He told the House of Commons it was not looking to announce anything similar and instead was detailing ways to reform the economy.

"This budget confronts the hard truth that has been ignored for too long, Britain has lost ground in the world economy," he said, adding that the country had been dragged down by debt.

Growth forecasts in the UK economy have been revised down to 1.7% from 2.1% because there had been a "weaker than expected final quarter last year, and higher commodity prices", the Chancellor said.

But the next few years look set for a better performance with growth rising 2.5% next year, to 2.9% in 2013 and up to 2.8% by 2015. Inflation is expected to remain high between 4% and 5% this year but drop by 2% in two years time.

The leader of the opposition Ed Miliband said that the Chancellor had said he should be judged on growth and on that basis he was failing.

"It was the wrong choice to go too far and too fast," he said, referencing the government's decision to make substantial cuts to the public sector.

He added that blaming the snow for a poor fourth quarter was a weak line to take because other countries equally hit by bad winter conditions, including France and Germany, managed to grow.


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