UK recession warning: Economy on brink as Bank of England set to hike interest rates TODAY

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The BOE is expected to skyrocket rates by an aggressive 50 basis points (bps) to 1.75 percent, the highest level since late 2008. The Bank Rate has never been raised by a half point since the Bank was made independent in 1997.

It comes after a report warned Britain must prepare to plunge in to recession, which will hit millions of the most vulnerable households, especially in the worst-off parts of the country.

Gross domestic product is set to shrink in the third and fourth quarters of this year, and in the first three months of next year.

The report, from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR), warned of a “three-quarter technical recession, but a relatively shallow one”.

However, it warned of an “increased possibility of a deeper recession”.

More than 2.5 million households are set to see their savings obliterated by the rising cost of living. It will mean that one in five UK households will have no savings by 2024.

The institute also says the number of households living pay cheque to pay cheque will nearly double from 3.9 million to 6.8 million – or 25 percent – in 2024.

The report found that inflation will peak around the last three months of this year. 

It said the threat of stagflation, a nightmare of economists, has returned for the first time since the 1970s.

Stagflation is where an economy sees slow growth, high unemployment and rising prices.

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The economy is likely to grow this year, the NIESR said, but only by 3.5 percent, and then down to 0.5 percent next year – far from an emphatic bounce back from the Covid pandemic.

Consumer price index inflation will reach close to 11 percent, but will fall back to three percent by the end of 2023.

Professor Stephen Millard, NIESR deputy director for macroeconomics, said: “The UK economy is heading into a period of stagflation with high inflation and a recession hitting the economy simultaneously.”

He called on the BoE to try to get inflation under control – interest rates of three percent will probably be necessary for that – and for the new chancellor to support households hit by the recession and cost-of-living squeeze.

The report called for the Government to increase Universal Credit payments by £25 per week for at least six months from October, which would cost around £1.4 billion, and also to increase energy bill relief payments from £400 to £600 for 11 million low-income households, costing £2.2 billion.

The research shows that between the impact of inflation and the refusal of the Government to raise benefits in line with inflation, the 10 percent poorest households will be around five percent worse off, despite the support they have been promised on energy bills.

It makes them the worst hit of any income group in society.

Professor Adrian Pabst, deputy director for public policy at NIESR, added: “All households are facing soaring energy and food bills but too many have to resort to credit, build up payment arrears or see their savings wiped out.

“The incoming administration needs to provide immediate emergency support to the 1.2 million hardest hit households and the one in five households that will become financially vulnerable as the energy price cap is lifted and the recession begins to bite.”

The report forecast that real incomes will be permanently lower, dropping 2.5 percent in 2022 alone.

Real incomes will be seven percent below where they were headed before Covid by 2026, it said. Around three percent to five percent of this hit will come from Brexit, one percent to three percent from energy price rises and the remainder from Government policy.

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