Friday 30 January 2015 6:14 am

Do new figures tell us the financial future of the UK?

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As average citizens, it has become rather hard to ascertain whether we should be positive about the future of the British economy or not. One morning we turn on the news or pick up the paper to see reports of an upturn in fortunes, only for this to be quashed just days later with stories of a slowdown and yet more austerity. 

The financial future of Britain will only take more prominence now that the General Election is just months away, but who are we to believe? Knowing exactly how the UK is faring is key to deciding how to manage our finances, whether this is how to invest, whether to get a mortgage or, indeed, decide if it is prudent to take out a loan with a reputable lender such as Satsuma.   

Impartial statistics

Statistics from the Office for National Statistics this week may well have actually shed some light on this issue in an impartial way, so that British citizens who aren’t political or financial experts may be able to make some informed decisions on their futures. So, what are the positives? 

The fluff-free answer is that the British economy actually grew by an impressive 2.6 per cent over the last 12 months, this is the quickest rate since 2007 and the start of the recession. This is up nearly a whole per cent from 2013’s figures and realistically shows that the UK is finally enjoying a period of sustained growth. What is perhaps the most encouraging stat is that 0.5% of this growth actually came in the last three months of last year, suggesting that the purple patch we are in could well continue. 

Political rivalries

Of course, the rival parties are at loggerheads in terms over what these figures mean. Labour is naturally indicating that a slight slowdown is indicative of a trend that could continue,  whereas chancellor George Osborne is adamant that we are indeed “on track”. Either way,  the current state of play could mean that making hay while the sun shines is the best way forward for potential investors and lenders. If you are seeing house prices, interest rates and foreign exchange rates that you like the look of, why not take advantage before any potential downturn in fortunes?

Could the best times lie ahead? 

Last Tuesday’s figures do mean that the UK was the top performer of all the major economies last year so the reasons to be confident are plain for all to see. The much-coveted drop in oil prices and the effect it had on petrol rates will have also buoyed consumers all across the nation. The exciting part is surely that the peak of the UK’s recovery could still be in front of us, music to the ears of all who have borne the brunt of the last eight years of downturn.

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