UK 'fastest-growing Western economy'

image captionThere is a growing belief the UK economy is enjoying a broad-based improvement

The UK is set to grow faster than any other Western economy, according to the ICAEW - the body representing English and Welsh accountants.

Its monitor of business confidence, sponsored by accountants Grant Thornton, suggests economic growth of 1.3% in the fourth quarter of 2013.

The report identified signs of rising business confidence.

Its view of the economy mirrors that of the CBI, whose recent assessment also suggest a strong pick-up in growth.

The CBI, whose annual conference begins on Monday, said the UK economy was recovering at a "slow and steady" pace.


The ICAEW report says the recovery is happening among both business and consumer sectors and that companies are expecting growth in exports and business investment next year.

It says confidence in business is at its highest for the 10 years it has been running and has also been the longest sustained period of rising optimism registered.

Michael Izza, chief executive of ICAEW, said: "This quarter's report shows that the UK economic recovery is well under way.

"The shape of the recovery is changing as businesses respond to rising confidence by looking to new markets and increasing their investment plans."

The ICAEW uses forecasts from the Centre for Economics and Business Research to compare the outlook for UK growth to other western nations.

It says that the UK is likely to be leading those countries by the end of next year.

The CBI predicts growth this year of 1.4%, up from the 1.2% forecast in August, following a strong third-quarter performance.

It then expects a growth rate of 2.4% in 2014, Cridland said.

Latest official figures showed that the UK's economy grew by 0.8% between July and September, with the Office for National Statistics saying there had been a "fairly strong" performance across all sectors.

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