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'Stark economic challenge' facing whoever wins election

13 Jun 2024

Think tanks and business groups have warned that whoever wins the General Election faces a 'stark economic challenge' as a result of faltering growth.

Data published recently by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that the UK economy failed to grow in April.

The ONS data showed that construction output fell by 1.4% in April 2024, its third consecutive monthly fall. Output in services for consumers also fell by 0.7%.

Commenting on the data, James Smith, Research Director at the Resolution Foundation, said: 'After a strong start to the year, falling retail sales and contracting manufacturing output have brought growth to a halt in April. The latest data offers a snapshot of Britain's wider growth challenge, and should remind politicians that ending stagnation should be the central task of whoever wins the next election.'

Meanwhile, David Bharier, Head of Research at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: 'Many businesses we speak to are still held back by skills shortages, high borrowing costs, and trade barriers with the EU. Sectoral performance remains very imbalanced, with retail and hospitality sectors consistently reporting weaker growth.

'With unemployment rising and inflation slowing, pressure will be growing on the Bank of England to cut the interest rate.'