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BCC: Interest Rates Must Not be Raised in April

Revised government figures which revealed the UK economy is doing slightly better than expected are not a signal to raise interest rates, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has warned. According to updated  Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures, the UK economy contracted by 0.5 per cent in the last quarter of 2010, not 0.6 per cent as previously published. The revision means that GDP in the fourth quarter of 2010 is now 1.5 per cent higher than over the same period in 2009. British Chamber of Commerce chief economist, David Kern, said it was reassuring to know the underlying position wasn’t as bad as feared, but that the Bank of England should remain firm on interest rates so as not to destabilise the economy. “We can be reasonably confident that the recovery will con... »

Economic Growth will Continue Next Year, says BCC

The UK has weathered the worst of the recession and the economy will continue to grow in 2011, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has said. The business group made the comments following the release of the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on economic growth. The research in Gross Domestic Product preliminary estimate 3rd Quarter 2010 found that the UK economy grew by 0.8% in the third quarter of 2010 – double the rate expected – but lower than the 1.2% growth in the second quarter. “The results were better than expected in the third quarter driven by the strong manufacturing sector – particularly in construction,” said BCC spokesman, Steve Hughes. “Manufacturers have responded well to the weakness in the value of sterling and seem to be exp... »

Gender Pay Gap is Closing

Gender Pay Gap is Closing

Government statistics which found that the difference in average pay levels between men and women narrowed last year are evidence of a longer-term trend that the gender pay gap is closing, according to the Government Equalities Office (GEO). The Office of National Statistics’ (ONS) annual survey of hours and earnings found that men in full-time work earned an average of £12.97 an hour before tax in 2009, compared with £11.39 an hour for women; a difference of 12.2% compared to 12.6% in 2008. A GEO spokesman said the figures indicated a broader trend, with the gender pay gap having shrunk by more than 5% since 1997. “Increased transparency over pay and more firms working towards stamping out unequal pay practices are helping to make an impact.” However, the ONS... »