Lloyds TSB economist offers GCA conference delegates cautious optimism on UK finances

Lloyds TSB head of UK macroeconomics Adam Chester told Garden Centre Association members the industry had outperformed other sectors but warned of a "continued squeeze" on public spending beyond the next Government.

He said the Bank of England may raise interest rates sooner than expected after it was revealed that the UK economy had contracted 0.5 per cent in the last quarter, but said he was "cautiously optimistic" that the worst was over.

Chester added that consumer spending would be challenging, with less spent on discretionary products such as those sold in garden centres.

However, he said the continued slump in the housing market had resulted in people spending more on their homes and gardens, offering opportunities for the industry.

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