Economics bulletin 10 February

Date : 09 February 2023

Your overview of economic and policy news with a focus on the food and consumer goods industry. Featuring the latest developments and guidance on the rising cost of living, the Ukraine crisis, labour shortages, policy developments and adapting to a new relationship with the EU.

Recession or no recession?

Independent experts have forecast that the UK may avoid a recession, suggesting that the UK economy may grow marginally in 2023. This is at odds with the Bank of England’s recent forecast of a shallow recession.

The Office for Budget Responsibility expects that a recession will continue throughout 2023. Even if technical recession is avoided, we forecast that consistent growth seems unlikely.

To see more insight into our predictions for the economy, shoppers and government policy download our latest Viewpoint Report: From inflation to recession: what to watch out for in 2023.

UK avoids recession, for now

Strikes across the public sector resulted in UK economic activity falling by 0.5% in December.

Over the final quarter of 2022, the UK saw zero growth. The UK has therefore narrowly avoided a recession. A recession occurs when two consecutive quarters see negative GDP growth.

Government changes

The Prime Minister has announced changes to the government. This includes:

  • The combined Department for Business and Trade will be led by Kemi Badenoch. It will support growth, support British business, promote investment and free trade.
  • The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero will be led by Grant Shapps. It will focus on long-term energy supply from domestic sources and reducing energy bills.

New Departments for Science, Innovation and Technology and Culture, Media and Sport have also been created.

Energy bills to fall below Energy Price Guarantee

Independent experts have forecast that annual typical household energy bills will fall to £2,361 in July 2023. This is below the Energy Price Guarantee which is scheduled to rise to £3,000 from 01 April 2023.

If typical household energy bills fall below the Energy Price Guarantee, households will pay the lower amount.

National Apprenticeship Week

Businesses across our industry have been showcasing fantastic opportunities for apprentices as part of National Apprenticeship Week. The focus of this year’s programme is developing ‘Skills for Life’. 

The British Retail Consortium and UK Hospitality alongside other trade bodies have sent a joint letter to government, urging them to widen the Apprenticeship Levy system into a broader Skills Levy, allowing businesses to invest in their workforce.


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