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Business Comment

James Moore: ONS may be gloomy but Bank still has to be ready

Outlook The paucity of credit no doubt played a part in yesterday's dreadful figures on UK manufacturing output. If you can't get financing for your factory, you can't make things.

But what was particularly shocking about the numbers was they were so badly at odds with what a wealth of private surveys have been saying. Who to believe? There is a natural tendency to criticise the ONS when it is out of step with others and there was some of that around yesterday.

The ONS is not an oracle and it does sometimes get things wrong. We may yet see the figures revised upwards. the conflicting surveys are more forward looking.

All the same, it is quite clear that Britain's economy remains on the critical list. The Bank of England is staying its hand for now, to no one's surprise. But it may take more than the measures announced in George Osborne's "Budget for growth" to get things going and the Bank has rather been told that it is the only game in town should that be the case.