Forecast predicts big boost for Sheffield businesses

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A Sheffield business leader has hailed figures predicting a sharp increase in UK economy growth – but warned against a recovery based on consumer debt.

The International Monetary Fund expects the economy to grow by 2.4 per cent this year – faster than any other major European economy. It also raised its global growth outlook to 3.7 per cent.

Richard Wright, Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, executive director said: “It’s excellent news for Sheffield City Region, not just the UK numbers but the wider international predictions from where many of our customers operate.”

Confidence in the UK economy has increased, with unemployment falling, manufacturing and retail sales recording strong growth and inflation back at the government’s 2 per cent target rate. A CBI survey revealed growth in new manufacturing orders was at its strongest since April 2011.

Mr Wright said: “My biggest concern is improvements do not seem to be translating into improvements in our trade deficit yet. This could mean the drivers for growth are consumer debt or publicly funded schemes which would build up problems for the future. We must increase exports and reducing imports so we create real wealth – not the illusion of wealth.”