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Iran Press TV

Brexit uncertainty is depressing UK growth: Finance minister

Iran Press TV

Fri Aug 10, 2018 01:27PM

Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond has said that uncertainty over Brexit is depressing economic growth in the United Kingdom.

Hammond made the remarks on Friday after official data from the government showed lackluster year-on-year economic expansion. He was talking to broadcasters during a trip to central England to announce 780 million pounds ($996 million) of public investment in high-tech industry.

"Clearly that uncertainty is having a depressing effect on economic growth," Hammond said.

He added that proposals for the UK withdrawal that were presented last month by Prime Minister Theresa May should lead to economic growth.

Hammond said that he wanted to see growth rates faster than the year-on-year expansion of 1.3 percent recorded in the second quarter of 2018.

According to forecasts from a UK business organization, Britain's economic growth is set to fall behind other developed economies again this year as it nears its exit from the European Union.

The world's fifth-largest economy looks likely to grow by 1.4 percent in 2018, weaker than projected growth in the EU of 2.2 percent and in the United States of 2.8 percent, according to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

Growth looks set to slow further to 1.3 percent in 2019, when it will again lag behind the euro zone and the United States, the CBI said.

The UK went from being the fastest-growing economy in the Group of Seven (G7) advanced economies to its slowest last year as the value of the pound fell after the Brexit referendum in 2016 and companies turned cautious about investment.

The CBI argued before the Brexit referendum that staying in the EU would be best for Britain's economy.

In the United Kingdom's 2016 referendum, 52 percent, or 17.4 million people, voted to leave the EU while 48 percent, or 16 million, voted to stay.

Several campaigns have emerged in recent months calling for a rerun of the EU referendum and putting pressure on British lawmakers to oppose a Brexit agreement.

By contrast, supporters of Brexit say attempts to stop Brexit run against the democratic will of the people and could thrust Britain into a constitutional crisis.

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