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Entrepreneurs Panel

Richard O'Sullivan
Tony Caldeira
Brian Hay
Michael Oliver
Julie Meyer
David Pollock
Laura Tenison
Debbie Pierce
Jennie Johnson
Jeremy Roberts
Steve Purdham
Charlie Mullins

Services drive pick-up in growth

Private sector growth picked up in the three months to February, driven by a rebound in consumer services.

The CBI's latest Growth Indicator, a survey of 778 businesses across the manufacturing, distribution and service sectors, shows growth rose to a balance of 15 per cent, up from 10 per cent in the three months to January.

Consumer services saw the fastest growth in business volumes since August 2015.

Retail sales and manufacturing output also grew at a solid pace, the latter mirroring its performance in the three months to January.

However, there was no change in business volumes for business and professional services.

Looking ahead, companies across sectors expect to see similarly decent growth (17 per cent) over the next quarter.

Rain Newton-Smith, CBI chief economist, said: "The economy is growing solidly, with consumer-facing sectors leading the way for now. And it's encouraging that firm growth is expected to continue over the next three months

"However, with inflation set to rise even further, this will dampen households' spending power, and growth is likely to slow as the year progresses. Rising costs will add to the pressures on businesses too, so they will be looking for a steady hand on the tiller at the Budget and action on the rising burden from business rates.

"By committing to invest in skills and innovation, through a truly modern Industrial Strategy, the Chancellor can take long-term steps to set the British economy on the right path for the future."

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