Economic prospects set to improve

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A slow economic recovery is in sight across Europe, the European Commission has claimed, with the UK in line for 1.7 per cent growth next year compared with an EU average of 1.3 per cent.

The Commission’s spring economic forecast yesterday described UK growth as “likely to remain subdued this year but with a brighter outlook”.

The document, analysing the economic data for all 27 member states, said of the UK: “The overall outlook for 2012 remains uncertain but, with an anticipation of stronger real wages improving household consumption growth towards the end of the year and more stability in the UK’s export markets, GDP growth is expected to remain positive at 0.5 per cent in 2012 with a further improvement in 2013 to 1.7 per cent as investment rises.”

That compares with an estimate of a 1 per cent average rise next year in the 17 eurozone countries, and a 1.3 per cent average growth rate across all 27 EU member states.

According to the figures, GDP will be stagnant this year in the EU as a whole, falling by 0.3 per cent in the eurozone, and rising by 0.5 per cent in the UK.