Over 60 business people attended this year’s Bank of England update, organised by the Somerset Chamber of Commerce, to hear the Bank’s views on the current economic situation and the prospects for the British economy over the next two to three years.
Geoff Harding, Deputy Agent for South West England, spoke to a full house of Somerset business people at the annual event, this year held on 2nd September at the Holiday Inn in Taunton.
He discussed the main stresses on the UK economy at present. This included topics such as the housing market, financial liquidity, cyber risks, migration, and global shocks and corrections such as the situation recently seen in China.
Over the next 12-24 months, he said the Bank of England expects moderate global growth and robust domestic growth, with wages likely to increase and tightening labour markets, while external drags on interest rates are predicted to decrease.
Although growth is weak, he highlighted that there is no sign of deflation in the UK economy. He informed delegates that the feeling of the committee is to move interest rates much more slowly than in the past, with ‘normal’ becoming around 3%-4% rather than the historic 5%-6%. Meanwhile inflation is not expected to reach 2% for another 2-3 years.
Sponsored by Cooper Associates, this year’s Bank of England breakfast event sold out in advance, attracting delegates from across the county and representing a wide range of industries including finance, law, engineering, marketing, tourism and education.
Somerset Chamber Chairman, Graham Knight, said, “We are grateful to Geoff and the Bank of England for providing such an interesting and informative briefing for Somerset businesses. Being able to get this type of insight into the performance of the economy, and understand the global situation and its potential to affect trading conditions for UK companies, is invaluable. To look behind some of the headline figures, as Geoff has enabled us to do through this update, allows the business community to plan for investment and growth with greater confidence.”
The Somerset Chamber of Commerce is one of only five accredited Chambers in the South West and 52 in the whole of the UK. It works closely with the British Chambers of Commerce to make sure Somerset businesses stay well connected at both a local and national level, and that the voices of the Somerset business community are heard at all levels of government.
Pictured (left to right): Martyn Cole, Cooper Associates; Geoff Harding, Bank of England; Samantha Cooper, Cooper Associates; Graham Knight (Somerset Chamber of Commerce)