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Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...

UK & World

Russian ‘sabre-rattling’ sees rising Royal Navy warship response

May 21 2018

British fighter jets and warships have responded to Russian military activity near the UK more than 160 times since 2010.The figures reveal a dramatic increase in naval movements, with the Royal Navy activated in response to Russian ships on 33 occasions in 2017, compared to just once in 2010.The naval activity is partly linked to Moscow’s involvement in the conflict in Syria, which has seen Russian warships travel through the Strait of Dover en route to the eastern Mediterranean.Figures obtained by the Press Association show that Royal Navy ships were activated in response to Russian navy vessels approaching UK territorial waters on 103 occasions between 2010 and 2017.There were 33 occasions in 2017, 20 times in 2016, 14 in 2015, 11 in 2014, 12 in 2013, eight in 2012, four in 2011 and just one in 2010.Russian naval activity linked to the Syria campaign, where Vladimir Putin’s forces are supporting Bashar Assad’s regime, was illustrated by the movement of aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov.The Kuznetsov and her escorts were “man-marked” by Type 45 destroyer HMS Duncan and Type 23 frigate HMS Richmond as the battlegroup passed through the English Channel en route to Syria in 2016.They were then picked up by Type 23 frigate HMS St Albans as the Russian ships made the return journey in 2017. Justin Bronk, a research fellow at defence think tank the Royal United Services Institute, said as well as naval movements relating to Syria, there had also been “a significant increase in Russian submarine activity”.The lack of UK maritime patrol aircraft meant there had to be “a lot more surface activity to try and cover that off”.The peak of aerial activity was in 2011, when jets on quick reaction alert (QRA) duties were scrambled on 10 separate days.The figures show QRA fighters were launched on three days in 2017, five in 2016, eight times in each of 2015, 2014 and 2013, nine days in 2012, 10 in 2011 and seven in 2010.The RAF routinely intercepts, identifies and escorts Russian aircraft that transit international airspace within the UK’s area of interest.The aircraft are often long-range bombers such as the Tupolev TU-160 Blackjack or TU-95 Bear.Mr Bronk said although the amount of QRA scrambles may have declined, there had been a trend of “larger groups of aircraft” being sent by Russia.Part of the reason for the operations was “reminding Nato they are there”, he said, adding: “There is certainly an element of sabre-rattling to it.“They want to be taken seriously as a significant military power.“One way to do that is to force QRA scrambles.“It’s part of an ongoing pattern of the Russians trying to keep up consistent military activity across Nato – it fits in with a lot of airspace probing around the Baltic states and Sweden as well as submarine activity, surface activity and of course what they are doing in Syria.”The Ministry of Defence refused to give details of the naval vessels involved in monitoring operations or further information on the QRA launches.In its response, the MoD said: “While it is recognised that there is a high level of interest in activities of this nature, it is considered that release of the full details of such incidents has the potential to compromise the current and future operational effectiveness of our armed forces’ deterrent capability.”


Mohamed Salah, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo – A comparison

April 26 2018

Mohamed Salah’s performance for Liverpool in their 5-2 Champions League semi-final first-leg win over Roma on Tuesday night saw the Egyptian likened to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.Here Press Association Sport compares the trio.Mohamed SalahAge: 25Club: LiverpoolInternational team: EgyptIndividual honours: PFA Player of the Year (2017-18), African Footballer of the Year (2017).Team honours: African Nations Cup runner-up (2017, with Egypt).Goals in 2017-18: 43 (including 31 in the Premier League and 10 in the Champions League)A tormentor of Chelsea for Basel, Salah was given scant opportunity when he joined the Blues before thriving at Fiorentina and Roma and proving his worth at Anfield.Lionel MessiAge: 30Club: BarcelonaInternational team: ArgentinaIndividual honours: FIFA Ballon d’Or (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015), European Golden Shoe (2010, 2012, 2013, 2017)Team honours: La Liga (eight), Copa del Rey (six), Champions League (four), Club World Cup (three).Goals in 2017-18: 42 (including 29 in La Liga)The magician has terrorised defences for years with his nimble footwork and goalscoring instinct. Messi is leading Barcelona towards another LaLiga title and played a key role in ousting Chelsea from the Champions League.Cristiano RonaldoAge: 33Club: Real MadridInternational team: PortugalIndividual honours: FIFA Ballon d’Or (2008, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017), European Golden Shoe (2008, 2011, 2014, 2016)Team honours: Premier League (three), La Liga (two), Copa del Rey (two), Champions League (four), Club World Cup (four), European Championship (2016, with Portugal).Goals in 2017-18: 43 (including 24 in La Liga)The former Sporting Lisbon and Manchester United winger turned prolific striker scored the most goals in the last two Champions League seasons, when Real won the competition. No-one has scored more goals in UEFA competitions.

Jose Mourinho signs new Manchester United deal – here is his club-by-club record

January 25 2018

Jose Mourinho committed his future to Manchester United by signing a new contract on Thursday.Here is a club-by-club record of the Portuguese’s managerial career to date.Benfica (September 20, 2000 to December 5, 2000)Played: 11, Won: 6, Drew: 3, Lost: 2Win percentage: 54.55Trophies: NoneUniao de Leiria (July 2001 to January 23, 2002)Played: 20, Won: 9, Drew: 7, Lost: 4Win percentage: 45.00Trophies: NonePorto (January 23, 2002 to May 26, 2004)Played: 127, Won: 91, Drew: 21, Lost: 15Win percentage: 71.65Trophies: Primeira Liga (2003, 2004); Portuguese Cup (2003); Portuguese Super Cup (2003); Champions League (2004); UEFA Cup (2003).Chelsea (first spell: June 2, 2004 to September 20, 2007)Played: 185, Won: 124, Drew: 40, Lost: 21Win percentage: 67.03Trophies: Premier League (2005, 2006); FA Cup (2007); League Cup (2005, 2007); Community Shield (2005).Inter Milan (June 2, 2008 to May 28, 2010)Played: 108, Won: 67, Drew: 26, Lost: 15Win percentage: 62.04Trophies: Serie A (2009, 2010); Italian Cup (2010); Italian Super Cup (2008); Champions League (2010).Real Madrid (May 31, 2010 to June 1, 2013)Played: 178, Won: 128, Drew: 28, Lost: 22Win percentage: 71.91Trophies: LaLiga (2012); Copa del Rey (2011); Spanish Super Cup (2012).Chelsea (second spell: June 3, 2013 to December 17, 2015)Played: 136, Won: 80, Drew: 28, Lost: 28Win percentage: 58.82Trophies: Premier League (2015); League Cup (2015).Manchester United (May 27, 2016 to date, contracted to 2020)Played: 99, Won: 61, Drew: 23, Lost: 15Win percentage: 61.62Trophies: League Cup (2017); Community Shield (2016); Europa League (2017).

Motoring news

Rising repair costs and whiplash claims behind insurance rise

February 11 2017

Vehicle insurance premiums hit a record high last quarter, rising by more than five times the rate of inflation in 2016. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) said that tax increases, rising repair costs and increasing costs arising from whiplash injury claims were to blame. According to the ABI’s Motor Premium Tracker - which measures the price consumers actually pay for their cover, rather than quotes - the average price for private comprehensive insurance in Q4 2016 was £462. The highest figure recorded before this was in Q2 of 2012, when the average price was £443. The Q4 figure for 2016 was up 4.9% over Q3, equating to a £22 rise in the average premium. It was also found that the average premium for all of 2016 was 9.3% higher than the average premium for 2015. ABI’s assistant director and head of motor and liability, Rob Cummings, said: “These continue to be tough times for honest motorists. They are bearing the brunt of a cocktail of rising costs associated with increasing whiplash-style claims, rising repair bills and a higher rate of insurance premium tax. “While we support the Government’s further reforms to tackle lower-value whiplash costs, it must not give with one hand and take away with the other. The sudden decision to review the discount rate has the potential to turn a drama into a crisis, with a significant cut throwing fuel on the fire in terms of premiums. “Insurers are open to a proper dialogue on how to reform the system and urge the Lord Chancellor to engage with the industry about setting a rate that is fair for both claimants and customers.” Meanwhile, the RAC has released research that suggests not indicating when turning is our number one annoyance on the roads. Well over half (58%) of the survey’s respondents said failing to indicate was the top inconsiderate behaviour. It was narrowly ahead (56%) of those who thought middle lane hogging was the greatest driving sin.


Budget 2015: The key points

March 18 2015

Here are the main points of Chancellor George Osborne's Budget. TAXThe income tax personal allowance is to rise to £10,800 next year and £11,000 the year after, making typical working taxpayer £900 a year better off and cutting tax for 27 million people. Above-inflation rise in threshold for 40p income tax rate from £42,385 this year to £43,300 by 2017/18. The transferable tax allowance for married couples to rise to £1,100. The share of income tax paid by the top 1% of earners is projected to rise from 25% in 2010 to more than 27% this year, while lower-paid 50% of earners pay a smaller proportion than under Labour. Employers' national insurance for under-21s will be abolished from this April and for young apprentices from next April. A "major review" of the business rates system and the reduction in the annual investment allowance to be set at a rate "much more generous" than £25,000.Guide to matters devolved to the Scottish GovernmentClass Two national insurance contributions for the self-employed to be abolished in next Parliament. The annual tax return will be abolished altogether, replaced by digital and online systems. A penny a pint will be knocked off beer duty, cider duty will be cut by 2% and duty on Scotch whisky and other spirits also cut by 2%. Wine duty frozen and duties on tobacco and gaming also unchanged. The fuel duty increase which was scheduled for September is cancelled. The pension pot lifetime allowance to be reduced from £1.25 million to £1 million from next year, saving £600 million annually. Government to legislate next week on diverted profits tax aimed at multinationals shifting profits offshore, and bring it into effect at the start of April. Tax rules to be tightened to prevent contrived loss arrangements, use of foreign branches to reclaim VAT on overheads, clampdown on "umbrella companies" and ensure entrepreneurs relief is only available to those selling genuine stakes in businesses. The measures on tax avoidance and evasion to raise £3.1 billion over the forecast period. Review on the use of deeds of variation to avoid inheritance tax, to report by the autumn. Bank levy raised to 0.21%, raising an additional £900 million a year, with banks to be barred from deducting compensation for mis-selling from their corporation tax bills. In total, new banking taxes to raise £5.3 billion across forecast period. Reduced rate of increase in company car tax for low-emission vehicles - with other vehicle rates rising by 3% in 2019/20. Introduction of "generous" tax allowance to stimulate investment in North Sea oil industry from start of April, with Government investing in new surveys of UK continental shelf. Support totalling £1.3 billion for oil industry includes cut in petroleum revenue tax from 50% to 35% next year and in supplementary charge from 30% to 20%, backdated to January.PENSIONS AND SAVINGSLaw change to allow pensioners to access their annuities, with 55% tax charge abolished and tax applied at the marginal rate. Annual savings limit for Isa increased to £15,240 and a new fully flexible Isa created. A new Help To Buy Isa for first-time buyers allows the Government to top-up by £50 every £200 saved for a deposit. A new personal savings allowance from April next year means first £1,000 of interest on savings will be tax-free.ECONOMY AND PUBLIC FINANCESOffice for Budget Responsibility confirms that, at 2.6% UK growth faster than any other major economy last year. OBR revises forecast UK growth for 2015 upwards from 2.4% in Autumn Statement to 2.5% now. Forecast for 2016 revised upwards to 2.3%, then 2.3% in 2017 and 2018 and 2.4% in 2019. OBR revises down growth in world economy, growth in world trade and the prospects for the eurozone. OBR forecasts unemployment to fall to 5.3% this year. Mr Osborne said that people are better off at the end of this parliament than five years ago, with GDP per capita up by 5% and real household disposable income higher in 2015 than 2010. The average household is around £900 better off in 2015 than 2010, with living standards set to grow strongly every year until 2020, said Mr Osborne. OBR revises down inflation forecast for this year to 0.2%, and revises it down for the following three years. Welfare bills set to be an average of £3 billion lower each year than predicted in December, and interest charges on Government gilts £35 billion lower. Treasury to sell at least a further £9 billion of Lloyds Bank shares in the coming year and launch sale of £13 billion of mortgage assets from Northern Rock and Bradford & Bingley. Resources from bank sales, lower interest payments and lower welfare bills to be used to pay down the national debt. Squeeze on public spending to end a year earlier than planned, so that in 2019/20 spending grows in line with the growth of the economy - bringing state spending as a share of national income to the same level as in 2000. The Government has met its 2010 target to end this parliament with Britain's national debt falling as a share of GDP. Debt as a share of GDP falls from 80.4% in 2014/15 to 80.2% in 2015/16, then 79.8%, 77.8% and 74.8% in subsequent years before reaching 71.6% in 2019/20. OBR confirms deficit is less than half of that inherited from the previous government, but at 5% this year "it's still far too high and it must come down". Deficit forecasts from Autumn Statement revised downwards to 4% in 2015/16, 2% in 2016/17 and 0.6% in 2017/18. Budget surplus of 0.2% forecast for 2018/19 and 0.3% for 2019/20. Borrowing forecast for this year revised downwards to £90.2 billion, then £75.3 billion in 2015/16, £39.4 billion, £12.8 billion in subsequent years - a total of £5 billion less borrowing than forecast in December. Budget surplus of £5.2 billion forecast for 2018/19 and £7 billion for 2019/20.INVESTMENT AND SPENDINGFunding provided for "major expansion" of mental health services for children and those suffering from maternal mental illness. A further £75 million from Libor fines paid by the banks to go to good causes. Some £1 million will go to buy defibrillators for public places, including schools. Additional money today to support the fight against terrorism. The £15 million fund for church roof appeals will be trebled, and extension to £8,000 in automatic gift aid will benefit 6,500 small charities. Government to provide £1 million to commemorate 600th anniversary of Agincourt. Support for North of England includes transport strategy for the North, funds for Health North initiative and agreement of new city deal for West Yorkshire Combined Authority. Greater Manchester to be allowed to keep 100% of growth in local business rates. Go-ahead for £60 million investment in the new Energy Research Accelerator in the Midlands, with new national energy catapult to be in Birmingham. Support for automotive industry including investment of £100 million for driverless technology. Transport investment of £7 billion in the South West, including new intercity rail franchise. Introduction of the first 20 housing zones for construction and extension of eight enterprise zones across Britain, with new zones in Plymouth and Blackpool. In Wales, negotiations opened on Swansea Bay tidal lagoon and Severn Crossing toll rates reduced from 2018. Announcement of "more generous" tax credits for TV and film, expanded support for video games industry and new tax credit for orchestras. A new horse race betting right, and a consultation on tax support for local newspapers. Up to £600 million to clear new spectrum bands for auction to improve mobile networks. Funding for wifi in public libraries and new national ambition for ultra-fast broadband to nearly all homes in the country.

Business news

End of austerity in sight as Hammond hints at boost to autumn spending

March 13 2018

Chancellor Philip Hammond has hinted he will turn on the spending tap in this autumn’s Budget after positive public finance figures pointed to “light at the end of the tunnel” following years of austerity.In a low-key spring statement, Mr Hammond resisted pressure for an immediate boost to public service funds from Labour, whose shadow chancellor John McDonnell branded him “complacent” for making hospitals, schools and police wait another eight months for relief.A smiling Chancellor told MPs he had shed his Eeyore image and was feeling “Tiggerish”, after the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) edged up growth projections for 2018 and forecast falls in Government borrowing and national debt over the coming years.But the director of the influential Institute for Fiscal Studies think tank, Paul Johnson, said the public finances were still in a “dreadful” state compared to before the referendum vote for Brexit in 2016.Mr Hammond would face a “sharp choice” in November on whether to ease up on austerity or make a serious effort to fulfil promises to balance the books and was “unlikely to be able to do both”.“Not that much to be Tiggerish about here,” said Mr Johnson.“Growth forecasts dreadful compared with what we thought in March 2016, dreadful by historical standards and dreadful compared with most of the rest of the world.”Meanwhile, the OBR warned the Chancellor is likely to miss his target of returning the public finances to overall balance by the middle of the next decade.Even achieving balance by 2027/28 would require per capita cuts in spending on services to continue to fall every year in real terms, said the official forecaster.The OBR also calculated that Britain will continue to pay contributions into the EU budget until 2064 – 45 years after the official date of Brexit – with the total “withdrawal bill” amounting to £37.1 billion.The downgrade to 2017 borrowing figures signalled last month by the OBR came to a smaller-than-expected £4.7 billion, bringing the total down to £45.2 billion.The Government is set to run a “small” surplus on day-to-day spending in 2018/19, borrowing only for capital investment, said the Chancellor.The OBR expects Mr Hammond to hit his target of reducing the structural deficit below 2% in 2020/21 with £15.4 billion to spare.Debt is forecast to be 1% lower than expected at the time of last autumn’s Budget, peaking at 85.6% of GDP in 2017/18 before falling gradually to 77.9% in 2022/23.GDP growth for 2018 was upgraded by a tenth of a percentage point to 1.5% but remains virtually static in following years, at 1.3% in 2019 and 2020, 1.4% in 2021 and 1.5% in 2022, at a time of a swiftly strengthening global economy.The OECD released figures suggesting that the UK will be bottom of the G20 growth table in both 2018 and 2019, lagging significantly behind the eurozone, partly as a result of uncertainty caused by Brexit.Mr Hammond said the forecasts confirmed “the first sustained fall in debt for 17 years, a turning point in the nation’s recovery from the financial crisis of a decade ago. Light at the end of the tunnel”.He gave a strong hint that austerity will be eased in November, telling MPs: “If, in the autumn, the public finances continue to reflect the improvements that today’s report hints at, then … I would have capacity to enable further increases in public spending and investment in the years ahead while continuing to drive value for money to ensure that not a single penny of precious taxpayers’ money is wasted.”A Treasury spokesman later said the Chancellor was unlikely to use all of the £15.4 billion headroom indicated by the OBR figures.Priorities for any spare money would be to “get the deficit down, keep taxes low and – if there is still flexibility – he has indicated that he would be in a position to do more to support public services”, said the spokesman.Mr McDonnell said improvements to the public finances announced by the OBR were “marginal” and denounced the Chancellor’s decision to hold back any spending increases to the autumn as “astounding”.“Hasn’t he listened to the doctors and nurses, the teachers, the police officers, the carers and even his own councillors?” asked the shadow chancellor. “They are telling him they can’t wait for the next Budget. They’re telling him to act now.”He added: “This isn’t a government that’s preparing our country for the future. It’s a government setting us up to fail.”Although there were no tax and spend announcements in the 26-minute statement, Mr Hammond took the opportunity to announce a number of consultations which will feed into his Budget in the autumn.These include studies on:– The tax framework relating to the giants of the digital economy;– The future of cash, with a possible death-knell for little-used 1p and 2p coins;– More frequent revaluation of business rates;– The impact of VAT on small businesses;– Cutting plastic waste.


Half of Turner Prize-winning artist’s new exhibition opens at DCA

March 4 2017

A new exhibition of work by Turner Prize-winning Mark Wallinger has opened simultaneously at Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA) and The Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh. MARK WALLINGER MARK is split into two parts and will be shown in both venues until Sunday 4 June. It is the first exhibition in Scotland by the artist and features Wallinger’s most recent body of work: the id Paintings (2015-16). These are presented alongside a series of sculptures, films and wall-based works which further explore the themes of identity, reflection and perception addressed in his new work. In the Dundee half of the exhibition, 12 of Wallinger’s id Paintings surround a new work, Self (Symbol) (2017), a capitalized ‘I’ aggrandized as a three dimensional statue the height of the artist. The id Paintings have grown out of Wallinger’s extensive series of self-portraits, and they reference the artist’s own body. His height – and therefore his arm span – is the basis of the canvas size. They are exactly this measurement in width and double in height. Wallinger described the paintings as the basis of both the Dundee and Edinburgh exhibitions. "There are different works in the two spaces, but these are the starting point, or spine if you like," he said. "There is quite a lot of work around the idea of identity and my presence." Video pieces are also included in the DCA gallery, including Shadow Walker in which the artist filmed his shadow walking ahead of him. In MARK, a 2010 creation, Wallinger chalked the title all over the city of London within the parameters of single standard-sized brick. This deadpan tagging is rendered as a photographic slideshow, made up of 2,265 images. A mirrored TARDIS is also on display in the exhibition. Wallinger said the development of Dundee had been notable in the time since he first visited the city to prepare for the gallery. "I came up here about a year ago to look around and think about how this show might be hung. "There has been so much work, lots of work, on the V&A since then. It looks amazing already - I quite like it as it is." Beth Bate, director of DCA, said: "We’re delighted to be welcoming Mark Wallinger to our galleries and to be working alongside The Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh in this compelling exhibition of two parts. "Mark's first show in Scotland features his new body of work, the enigmatic id Paintings. "We can’t wait to welcome audiences to this exciting exhibition." MARK WALLINGER MARK is a collaboration between Serlachius Museums, The Fruitmarket Gallery, and the DCA.


Think tank predicts £12.5 billion tax rise

March 22 2013

Tax rises totalling as much as £12.5 billion, the equivalent of almost 3p on the basic rate of income tax, could be in the offing after the 2015 general election as a result of decisions in Wednesday’s Budget, an economic think tank has suggested. Chancellor George Osborne has set a course for “severe” cuts to public spending in the years 2015-18, and it is now “more likely than not” that post-election tax rises will be used to take some of the pressure off Whitehall departments, said the Institute for Fiscal Studies. But the Treasury insisted there would be “no need for higher taxes,” as its plans rely on cutting public spending as a proportion of national income. Just to keep annual reductions in spending to the same rate seen since 2010 would require the Government to find £9 billion from other sources, such as tax rises or cuts to welfare or pensions. Departments will also have to find £3.5 billion to cover National Insurance payments for public sector workers as a result of the decision to bring forward the introduction of single-tier pensions to 2016. IFS director Paul Johnson said he expects at least some of this £12.5 billion to be covered by tax rises. A passage in the Budget documents, noting “it would, of course, be possible to do more of this further consolidation through tax” suggests the Treasury has considered the option of post-election tax hikes, he said. Mr Johnson said the comment betrayed “a degree of scepticism” within the Treasury over the prospect of achieving the desired savings by spending cuts alone. Without help from any other source: “the outlook for unprotected spending looks grim indeed”, he said. The most straightforward way to find some of the money would be a penny on the basic rate of income tax, but this would be politically explosive. A Treasury aide said: “Our plans are very deliberately based on cutting spending rather than raising taxes. “By the end of the period, public spending is forecast to fall to 40.5% of GDP, close to its historical average, so there is no need for higher taxes.” Mr Osborne’s decision to increase income tax personal allowances and cut fuel and beer duties and corporation tax in the Budget will bring the loss to the Exchequer from changes to these levies since 2010 to a “pretty remarkable” £24 billion by 2016-17, said Mr Johnson. “That would be a big investment at any time,” he said. “In the current fiscal climate this is a striking investment in a narrow range of priority areas. “It’s a combined tax cut worth nearly double the amount raised by the rather painful increase in the main rate of VAT to 20% in 2011.” The IFS was critical of the Government’s drive to rein in spending in the first few months of 2013 in order to ensure borrowing in 2012-13 was lower than the previous year - down by a wafer-thin margin from £121 billion to £120.9 billion. Whitehall departments were told not to indulge in a spending “splurge” at the end of the financial year and some significant payments were delayed in order not to show up in this year’s figures, something the think tank warned could have a “real economic cost.”

Business news

CBI predicts UK growth to be subdued over the coming years

December 4 2017

UK economic growth is expected to stay steady but subdued over the next couple of years, according to the latest CBI economic forecast. The tepid growth seen in 2017 is set to continue with the leading business group forecasting that GDP will grow at a rate of 1.5% for 2017, 1.5% in 2018 and 1.3% in 2019. The CBI expects quarterly GDP growth of a subdued 0.3% up to the end of 2019 — unchanged from June and almost half the average rate of growth seen since 2013. Rain Newton-Smith, CBI chief economist, said: “After a timid 2017, UK economic growth is set to remain steady but sluggish, with less pep than we’ve seen over the past few years. “We expect domestic demand to remain soft. Household spending will remain under pressure from squeezed real wages and Brexit uncertainty will weigh on business investment. “But encouragingly, we should see more support from net exports, buoyed by the lower pound and a resurgent global economy. “The lacklustre rates of growth that we’re expecting come against the backdrop of several years of persistently weak productivity, which is pushing down on the UK’s supply potential. “The Government’s newly announced industrial strategy can help address this challenge and boost living standards. “But the recent White Paper is just a first step — consistency and determination is needed to make this a long-lasting success.” Following the Bank of England interest rate rise in November, the CBI expects a further three rate rises, each of 25 basis points, over this forecast — in Q3 2018, and in Q2 and Q3 2019, taking the rate to 1.25%. The CBI forecasts thinks inflation will have peaked at 3% in October this year and thereafter expects it to ease gradually, though above the Monetary Policy Committee’s 2% target. With only a lukewarm pick-up in wage growth expected, living standards are set to stay under pressure. The global economy has been growing strongly and the CBI expects its momentum to remain solid, providing a supportive backdrop for economic growth in the UK. The CBI expects the global economy to grow by 3.6% in 2017, 3.7% in 2018 and 3.4% in 2019. The CBI has upgraded its forecast for Eurozone growth in particular, with the recovery across several countries having picked up pace. The group said the UK outlook remains subject to a high degree of downside risk — particularly in 2019, when a disorderly outcome from Brexit negotiations could disrupt the economy. Alpesh Paleja, CBI principal economist, said: “The global economy is firing on all cylinders, with the upturn in growth becoming more broad-based. We expect this to continue in the near-term.”