James Moore: Chancellor will have a close eye on the pressure gauge


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Outlook Is the UK economy running out of steam? Not yet, at least. But the latest survey data covering some of its most important sectors doesn’t make for happy reading.

Services, manufacturing and construction have all disappointed. A bit of context here: they are all still growing. But the rate of growth in all three undershot expectations and has clearly started to slow.

So UK plc is starting to pant a bit. And it is still over-reliant on the big-spending consumer to prop things up, with credit card debt building up to levels which ought to be causing real concern.

It is, of course, dangerous to read too much into one set of survey data, even if the data from three separate sectors is saying much the same thing.

But with the global picture increasingly uncertain, and with more restive noises coming from the eurozone, the occupant of 11 Downing Street will have good reason to feel twitchy. This is no way to be starting an election year. And the uncertainty created by an election year isn’t going to help.