Sunak said it will take time for people to feel better

Sunak said it will take time for people to feel better

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said that it will “take time” for people to “really feel better” as figures reveal the UK has emerged from recession.

The economy grew 0.6% between January and March after contracting in the second half of last year.

Mr Sunak told the BBC that the UK economy had “real momentum” but admitted there was “a lot more work to do”.

Both the Labor Party and the Liberal Democrats said there was little to celebrate. “After 14 years of economic chaos, working people are still worse off,” said Labour’s shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves.

Gross domestic product (GDP) – which measures the amount of goods and services produced by the economy – rose more than expected in the first three months of the year. Analysts had predicted growth of 0.4%.

Mr Sunak suggested that there was now some strength behind the UK economy, which saw its fastest growth rate for two years between January and March.

The UK fell into recession at the end of last year after contracting for two consecutive three-month periods.

Mr Sunak said: “Of course there’s more work to be done and I understand that and that’s why I’m keen to stick to our plans and continue to deliver to the public.

“But I think today’s numbers show that we now have momentum.”

However, Ms Reeves said: “This is not the time for Conservative ministers to do a victory lap and tell the British people that they have never had it so good.”

Lib Dem Treasury spokeswoman Sarah Olney said it was time for a general election.

The economy will be a major battleground in the upcoming elections, the dates of which have yet to be revealed.

Meanwhile, the FTSE 100 index closed at a new record high after the economic figures came out.

It closed 52.41 points, or 0.63% higher, at 8,433.76, with financial and industrial stocks among the day’s biggest gainers.

Earlier this week, Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey told the BBC that the UK was seeing a recovery, albeit not a strong one.

Banks voted to keep interest rates at a 16-year high of 5.25%. It expects inflation – which measures the rate at which prices rise – to return to the 2% target in the coming months.

That has withdrawn forecasts of a rate cut next month. However, stronger-than-expected GDP figures dampened those expectations.

Ruth Gregory, deputy chief UK economist at Capital Economics, said it showed “the Bank of England is in no rush to cut interest rates”.

He said the first rate cut would ultimately be determined by upcoming employment and inflation figures.

Mr Sunak said that GDP figures showed that the UK had the joint highest growth rate of the G7 developed countries, tied with Canada.

He added: “Salaries are up, energy bills are down and taxes are down.”

The government has reduced National Insurance by 4% since the end of last year.

However, it has also kept the income tax threshold frozen so that when a person’s salary increases, they can move into a higher tax bracket.

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