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OBR: 2011 growth unlikely to hit 1.7% target

Office for Budget Responsibility chairman Robert Chote expects growth for 2011 to fall short of the 1.7 per cent target his organisation set out in March.

In an interview with the Independent, Chote says the 0.7 per cent growth in the first half of 2011 was weaker than most observers expected.

He says: “Back in March our central fore cast was 1.7 per cent growth for this year, which at the time was fractionally more pessimistic than the average for the outside forecasters. Since then obviously we have had weaker out-turns in the first and second quarters than most people, including us, anticipated.

“As a simple matter of arithmetic, in order to get 1.7 per cent now you would be looking for quarter on quarter growth rates of 1 per cent in the third and fourth quarters of 2011, and there are not many people out there expecting that.”

The OBR’s Economic and Fiscal Outlook, published as Chancellor George Osborne delivered his Budget, downgraded the independent forecasters November growth projection for 2011 from 2.1 per cent to 1.7 per cent.

A Treasury spokesman says: “This is a time of uncertainty in the international economy. But Britain has been stable during this time and the economy is growing and creating jobs. Reducing the deficit and tackling our debts is an essential prerequisite for sustainable growth.”

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