CBI says strong UK growth is slowing after recent highs

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Image caption The service sector will drive growth in the coming months, the CBI says

The UK economy is still growing strongly, but not at the pace seen in recent months, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) says.

The group said its growth indicator for March showed the economy growing at its slowest rate in eight months.

But the CBI said growth remains above average, as the recovery in the UK economy continues to do well.

It added the outlook for the next three months was positive, with the service sector expected to boost GDP.

The CBI based its findings on a survey of 622 manufacturing, retail and service businesses.

It found the slowdown in output growth was largely due to the retail, business and consumer and professional services sectors.

Growth pick up

Anna Leach, CBI's head of economic analysis, said: "Although growth has slowed from record levels last month, it remains strong, and firms are optimistic it will pick up again in the next quarter.

"As this year progresses, we expect further increases in business and consumer confidence. Productivity and earnings should also start to recover.

"However, global developments continue to pose a risk to UK growth, not least the risk of renewed problems in the eurozone."

Meanwhile, a survey of 8,737 small businesses carried out at the end of last year has indicated that Britain's small businesses are feeling increasingly confident.

Two-thirds of the firms polled by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said they were planning to expand in the next 12 months.

FSB members aged 35 or under also reported increased profits, with 43% saying they had seen growth in 2013.

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