Growth has slowed, and is projected to be 1¾ per cent in 2016. Uncertainty about the outcome of the end-June 2016 referendum, which could lead to an exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Brexit), has undermined growth. This projection assumes that the United Kingdom remains in the European Union, in which case growth is projected to pick up in the second half of 2016 and then stabilise in 2017. The unemployment rate has fallen to around 5%. The current account deficit has reached 7% of GDP, the highest level on record, increasing vulnerabilities.
Fiscal consolidation is planned to continue, but its pace will ease to below 1% of GDP per year over the projection horizon, which is appropriate given a weaker economic outlook. Capacity pressures have abated and should remain contained, but the recent exchange rate depreciation will push up prices. This projection assumes interest rate normalisation will start in early 2017.
Productivity has been exceptionally weak since 2007, and reviving it is essential to sustain growth and living standards. Fiscal decentralisation and greater infrastructure investment would support capital stock accumulation and better use of resources. Better matching of skills to jobs and higher skill levels would also lift productivity. Financial conditions have improved for businesses, but as markets tighten more rapid exit of non-viable businesses would make room for new, more innovative businesses.
Economic Survey of United Kingdom (survey page)
The Economic Consequences of Brexit: A Taxing Decision (main web page with paper)
Structural reforms in a difficult time (blog + paper)
Public spending efficiency in the OECD (blog + paper)