Philip Hammond has admitted that consumers are suffering from the pound’s sharp post-referendum fall, after what government statisticians have called a “notable slowdown” in growth in the first half of the year. The economy grew by just 0.3% in the second quarter of 2017 following 0.2% expansion in the first three months of the year, Office for National Statistics figures showed. The chancellor, who says businesses and households are being affected by the lack of clarity about Brexit, put the sharp easing of growth in the past six months down to the squeeze on the cost of living caused by dearer imports. “Consumers are being affected by the inflation that was created by the depreciation of the currency in the autumn of last year. That will pass through the economy, but I absolutely recognise it’s painful as it’s passing through the economy,” Hammond said in an interview with ITV News. The expansion in the three months to June was in line with City expectations that the weakness of the economy meant no chance of an increase in interest rates by the Bank of England next week. Official data for gross domestic product showed that of the three big sectors of… Read full this story
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