PM Sunak Says Time Needed For People To Feel Better As UK Economy Takes Momentum


(MENAFN- AzerNews) Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said that it will "take time" forpeople to "really feel better" as figures revealed the UK hademerged from recession.

The economy grew by 0.6% between January and March aftershrinking in the second half of last year.

Mr Sunak told the BBC that the UK economy has "real momentum"but admitted there was "more work to do".

Both Labour and the Liberal Democrats said there was little tocelebrate. "After 14 years of economic chaos, working people arestill worse off," said Labour's shadow chancellor RachelReeves.

Gross domestic product (GDP) - which measures the amount ofgoods and services an economy produces - rose by more than expectedin the first three months of the year. Analysts had forecast 0.4%growth.

Mr Sunak suggested that there was now some strength behind theUK economy, which saw the fastest pace of growth for two yearsbetween January and March.

The UK fell into recession at the end of last year aftershrinking for two three-month periods in a row.

Mr Sunak said: "Of course there's more work to do and I get thatand that's why I'm keen to stick to our plan and keep deliveringfor people.

"But I think today's figures show that we now havemomentum."

However, Ms Reeves said: "This is no time for Conservativeministers to be doing a victory lap and telling the British peoplethat they have never had it so good."

Lib Dem Treasury spokesperson Sarah Olney said it was the timeto call a general election.

The economy will be a key battleground in the upcoming election,the date of which is yet to be revealed.

Earlier this week, the Bank of England's governor Andrew Baileytold the BBC that the UK was seeing a recovery, though not a strongone.

The Bank voted to hold interest rates at a 16-year high of5.25%. It expects inflation - which measures the pace of pricerises - to fall back to its 2% target in the next couple ofmonths.

That had lifted forecasts of a rate cut next month. However, thestronger than expected GDP figures have dampened thoseexpectations.

Ruth Gregory, deputy chief UK economist at Capital Economics,said it showed "the Bank of England doesn't need to rush to cutinterest rates".

She said the first rate cut would ultimately be determined byupcoming employment and inflation figures.

Mr Sunak said that the GDP figures show that the UK has thejoint highest growth rate in the G7 developed nations, tying withCanada.

He added: "Wages and going up, energy bills are coming down andtaxes are going down."

The government has cut National Insurance by 4% since late lastyear.

However, it has also kept income tax thresholds frozen so thatwhen a person's wage increases, they could be moving up into ahigher tax bracket.

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