UK economy confirmed as joint worst in the EU for second quarter

The UK, joined by Portugal, has been confirmed as the worst performing economy in the EU for the second quarter, while the British Chambers of Commerce has downgraded its forecasts for next year and 2019.

UK GDP growth was confirmed at 0.3 per cent in the second estimate released by the ONS last month.

GDP across the euro area grew 0.6 per cent, while the EU28 grew 0.7 per cent, Eurostat data shows.

The Czech Republic registered GDP growth of 2.5 per cent, the highest in the EU, while the Netherlands was the highest in the eurozone with 1.5 per cent GDP growth for the quarter.

The figures come as the British Chambers of Commerce upgrades its UK growth forecast for 2017 from 1.5 per cent to 1.6 per cent, but downgraded growth forecasts for 2018 and 2019 0.1 percentage point each to 1.2 per cent and 1.4 per cent respectively.

The downgrades to growth next year and in 2019 are due to subdued consumer spending and a weaker contribution from net trade.

“The UK economy as a whole is treading water, and there is no sign on the horizon of a return to healthier levels of growth,” says director-general Adam Marshall.

The business chief adds that a cheaper currency does not automatically mean an export boom, “no matter how some politicians and commentators will it to happen”.

“The rising upfront cost of doing business in the UK, the uncertainty around Brexit, and the constraints created by skills gaps and shoddy infrastructure collectively outweigh any benefit arising from the recent depreciation of sterling,” Marshall says.