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Osborne unlikely to hit growth target: HSBC economist

Growth forecast is predicated on very optimistic expectations for net exports

30 Mar 2011

By Richard Crump

george-osborne-

Mark Berrisford-Smith, senior economist in the business economics unit at HSBC, gave a bleak prognosis for the UK economy in an address to finance directors on March 29.

Speaking at the launch of the Finance Directors Planning Forum, Berisford-Smith cast a gloomy outlook and predicted that George Osborne would struggle to hit his growth target for the UK economy.

In last week's Budget announcement, Osborne cut the UK's 2011 growth target to 1.7 percent from the 2.1 percent forecast in November. Berisford-Smith said HSBC's forecast in even lower at 1.4 percent.

"Net export is expected to make a major contribution but we have never produced net exports to the level needed to hit the growth forecast. It is highly unlikely that we will hit it," Berisford-Smith said.

He added that by 2015/2016 the UK will still be borrowing close to £40bn.

"David Cameron's claim about paying off the nation's credit card is utter rubbish. He is just borrowing more slowly," he said. "Growth is all predicated on our net exports, but if it doesn't reach that level Osborne may have to come back for another bite of the cherry."

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