The ITEM Club - sponsored by Ernst & Young - has issued an Autumn forecast in which it predicts 1.6% growth in UK GDP - half the rate forecast in the Budget.
'The Chancellor is blaming high oil prices and other external developments for the current weakness,' says ITEM, 'But this is untenable when the world economy is strong and the UK, as a major exporter and oil producer, has the potential to benefit from these developments.'
The ITEM Club believes the UK's problems arise mainly from the end of the housing boom and the consumer shopping spree, and the government's apparent unwillingness to reign back public spending. 'UK growth is now critically dependent upon a recovery in exports and business investment, but so far these have failed to materialise,' says the report.
A summary of the ITEM...