- Business leaders have been urged to stop talking Britain down
- Slew of new data suggested economy was weathering the Brexit shock
- Legal & General boss said: ‘The UK remains a great place to invest’
Business leaders have been urged to stop talking Britain down as a slew of new data suggested the economy was weathering the Brexit shock.
There was turmoil on the markets and a fall in the pound in the days as Britain’s historic vote to leave the European Union caught investors by surprise.
But calm has since returned, helped by evidence that global growth remains strong.
Business leaders have been urged to stop talking Britain down as a slew of new data suggested the economy was weathering the Brexit shock. Now Nigel Wilson, the boss of insurance giant Legal & General, has called for businesses to be more upbeat.
Forecasts have suggested the country could be on course for a temporary slowdown due to uncertainty, although it is likely to avoid a recession.
Now Nigel Wilson, the boss of insurance giant Legal & General, has called for businesses to be more upbeat.
He said: ‘There’s too much doom and gloom around. The UK remains a great place to invest.’
A slew of fresh data gave a mixed picture, suggesting a slowdown in July but strong performance on the High Street.
The British Retail Consortium found that consumer spending in July rose at its fastest level for six months.
Shoppers spent 1.9 per cent more than a year earlier, up sharply from 0.2 per cent growth in June.
The British Retail Consortium found that consumer spending in July rose at its fastest level for six months
The group’s chief executive Helen Dickinson said: ‘Little has materially changed for most UK households.
‘It is not surprising to us that sales are simply responding to their normal underlying drivers.’
Meanwhile, industrial production grew by 2.1pc in the three months to July 1 – its fastest rate for 17 years. This was largely driven by an extremely strong April.
The National Institute of Economic and Social Research was less positive, releasing figures which suggested the economy expanded by 0.3 per cent in the three months to the end of July.
This was down from growth of 0.6 per cent in the three months to the end of June, and suggests a contraction of 0.2 per cent in July.
THE DANGERS OF LEAVING THE EU SINGLE MARKET
Leaving the EU single market could hit UK growth by 4 per cent, the Institute for Fiscal Studies has warned in another doom-laden forecast.
The IFS claimed in May that Brexit would add two years to austerity and cost the economy £40 billion by 2020.
In the latest study, the think-tank warned of the dangers if the UK loses membership of the single market and only has so-called ‘access’ instead.
It said: ‘There is all the difference in the world between access to and membership of the single market.’
The report branded access ‘virtually meaningless’, saying all countries in the World Trade Organisation, like Afghanistan, also have it.
However, the think tank said data could be volatile from month to month and cautioned against reading too much into the figures.
Separately, official statistics revealed the UK’s trade deficit widened by £900million to £5.1billion in June.
This gap between imports and exports is a longstanding weakness of the economy.
Although critics warn it makes us dependent on the kindness of strangers, the difference does mean that other countries rely on Britain as a source of income – particularly in the EU.
It is thought the UK’s attractiveness as an export destination could help ease negotiations over Brexit.