Britain cuts growth forecasts sharply for 2016 and 2017

The exterior of the Bank of England in London on Dec 10, 2015.
The exterior of the Bank of England in London on Dec 10, 2015.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (REUTERS) - Britain has cut sharply its forecast for economic growth this year and next, finance minister George Osborne said in his annual budget statement on Wednesday (March 16).

The Office for Budget Responsibility forecast gross domestic product would grow by 2.0 per cent this year compared with a 2.4 per cent estimate in November, and rise by 2.2 per cent in 2017 versus November's 2.5 per cent estimate, Osborne told parliament.

He said the economy was forecast to grow by 2.1 per cent in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

"Financial markets are turbulent. Productivity growth across the west is too low. And the outlook for the global economy is weak. It makes for a dangerous cocktail of risks," Osborne said.

He said the forecasts were based on the assumption that Britain voted to stay in the European Union at a referendum in June 23.