James Sproule, chief economist at the Institute of Directors, predicted the economy would grow by between two and 2.5 per cent a year for the foreseeable future. Mr Sproule was speaking at an IoD North West breakfast event at the INNSIDE Hotel in the First Street development.
Alongside Brexit, the main economic challenges during 2017 will include inflationary pressure on wages and the prospect of a consumer spending squeeze, Mr Sproule told around 100 business leaders. The other speakers were Chris Ralph, chief investment officer at wealth management firm St James’s Place, and Andrew Bounds, enterprise editor of the Financial Times.
HURST co-sponsored the event with law firm Pannone Corporate and Capstone Financial Management, a partner practice of St James’s Place. Mr Sproule said a big test resulting from the referendum decision was whether Britain would continue to be a location of choice for businesses looking to expand.
He also predicted that populist revolts are far from over, and that a significant cyber-attack could bring down a major mainstream company. The problem of cyber-attacks is much worse than people think, he added, with 40 per cent of IoD members saying they have been a victim but two-thirds choosing not to report the matter.
Beyond 2017, he predicted that pressure on Britain’s public sector would drive major reform, London would remain Europe’s financial centre,the triple lock will come off pensions….and that a developed European nation could suffer complete economic failure because of the flight of capital and graduate talent.
Mr Ralph said the chances of the UK falling into recession this year have receded. The prospect peaked after the referendum but now there is more certainty, he said. Mr Bounds said the business opportunities arising from Brexit appear quite good.
HURST hosts a variety of topical events and seminars throughout the year. Click here to see what we have lined up.