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BUSINESSNEWS


OSBORNE ADMITS FORECASTS NOW DOWNGRADED


Chancellor George Osborne has admitted that forecasts for the British economy have been downgraded following a slew of poor data.


But he insisted that the Government would stick to its tough deficit reduction plan, despite the evidence of a sharp slowdown over recent weeks.


In a speech at Lloyd's of London, Mr Osborne said: “We warned repeatedly that the recovery would be choppy. And we set in train a plan that was comprehensive and clear in its vision, but also flexible enough to withstand shocks along the way. A plan for fiscal responsibility to bring


unsustainable government borrowing under control, so that monetary activism can allow interest rates to stay lower for longer.”


“The plan we have set out is designed in tough times for tough times. It is the rock of stability upon which any sustainable recovery depends and we will hold to it.”


Signalling that UK growth forecasts will be


lowered when he delivers his autumn statement to Parliament on November 29, the Chancellor said that recovery from financial crises were “slower and choppier” than other recessions.


He added Britain was benefiting from being “ahead of the curve” in dealing with the deficit.


But Shadow chancellor Ed Balls commented:


“The British recovery was choked off last autumn, well before the global market turmoil we have seen in recent weeks. It's time George Osborne got out of his denial and admitted that Britain now faces a growth crisis, as a senior Minister let slip this week. And he should listen to the head of the IMF and one of the largest investment funds in the world who have warned that cutting too far and too fast risks economic recovery.”


HOUSE PRICES LOWER BUT MARKET IS ‘RELATIVELY STABLE’


House prices edged lower last month but the overall market is relatively stable, mortgage lender Nationwide has said.


The average price of a house fell 0.6% month-on-month in August to £165,914, Nationwide said, which is 0.4% lower than a year ago. Prices increased 0.3% in July.


Robert Gardner, Nationwide


chief economist, said the decline in August did not change the picture of “relative stability that has


characterised the market over the past 12 months.”


Nationwide said house prices actually increased 0.1% over the less volatile three-month measure, though this was lower than the 0.3% increase in the previous three months. House prices have declined in two of the last six months, according to Nationwide, with the last drop in April.


Mr Gardner said sluggish demand for homes, combined with only


a gradual rise in the supply of available properties, had helped to keep property prices stable since last summer.


He went on: “We expect this trend to be maintained over the remainder of 2011, although downside risks have increased as UK and global growth prospects have weakened.”


Mr Gardner said the major risk for the housing market is that weak economic growth could lead to a further deterioration in the labour market.


GGF ANNUAL REPORT SHOWS OPTIMISTIC OUTLOOK


The Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF) has released its Annual Report for 2010 showing a stable financial position and an optimistic outlook on the future despite the uncertainty in the economy.


The President of the GGF, Phil Brown commented, “Despite the fragile state of the UK economy, it was very encouraging to see that the Federation was able to recruit new companies to membership”.


The Annual Report also highlights many of the campaigns and projects the GGF have been consistently and diligently working on since 2010 including technical and political issues such as Green Deal.


Nigel Rees, Chief Executive underlined the


GGF’s activity “Although Green deal has taken up a great deal of time and effort, we have made huge strides in improving Government’s understanding


and awareness of the glass and glazing industry and its energy efficient products.”


STRATEGy REVIEW Within the Annual Report the GGF also revealed


it is planning to conduct a Strategy Review covering activities, structure, governance and resource levels. The outcome of this review is expected in 2012 and should map out a clear strategic direction for the GGF over the next five years.


The Annual Report clearly shows the


Federation’s recent work to date and underlines its intentions to strive for new and better benefits to support all its members regardless of size, profile or market position.


Nigel Rees concluded, “Our members have helped us stay relatively strong throughout 2010 and we are therefore optimistic about the future, setting the standards with our technical expertise


80 « Clearview NMS « September/October 2011 « www.clearview-uk.com


and continuing to be the voice of the industry in the political arena.


“The best members in the industry deserve the best trade federation and we will ensure we retain this position.”


Copies of the report may be downloaded: www.ggf.co.uk


He added: “For some time now the residential property market has been moving sideways, as weak demand for homes co-existed with a situation where relatively few homes were coming on to the market. A further fall in employment would be likely to upset the relatively delicate demand-supply balance and put downward pressure on prices.”


Nationwide said it only expects house prices to fall modestly for the remainder of 2011.


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