Official economic data set to dominate today’s autumn statement

Britain’s economic growth forecasts are expected to be downgraded when chancellor George Osborne reports his autumn statement today.

Osborne’s statement, due at 12.30, will be used to unveil the official independent growth forecasts for the economy of the Office for Budget Responsibility, which are expected to reduce predictions for recovery next year.

The statement will confirm plans, announced in interviews at the weekend, to divert £5bn of spending to infrastructure projects as part of a 30bn plan to boost growth.

Yesterday economic thinktank the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development released its own growth forecasts, showing that the UK will drift back into recession in the early part of next year, before returning to weak growth in the second half. It predicted a 0.03% contraction in the UK economy this quarter, and a further 0.15% the next.

In addition it said that unemployment would increase to close to 10% of the UK population.

Over the weekend Osborne outlined a number of measures designed to boost growth while not breaking his pledge to eliminate the structural budget deficit over the course of the parliament.

The £30bn infrastructure plan, to be set out in more detail today, is expected to include:

  • £5bn of capital funding raised from diverting revenue spending elsewhere in government
  • £600m school-building programme to deliver 40,000 new places
  • A list of 500 priority construction projects, including 40 to be given high-priority status
  • A deal to persuade pension funds to invest a further £20bn in infrastructure projects
  • Help for energy-intensive industries including product manufacturers set to be hit by the introduction of a carbon floor price