James Cliffe, Head of Business Banking at HSBC
“Despite the turbulence experienced in financial markets during the summer, the British economy continues to expand at a healthy rate. Our expectations continue to point to a robust fourth quarter, with GDP growth for the whole of 2015 still projected to come in at 2.6 per cent. While this is a touch slower than 2014, it’s faster than any of the other major advanced economies.
“The economic recovery has been sustained principally by household spending and the on-going strength in the services sector. While consumer confidence has dipped a little in the past few months, it remains at a historically high level, buoyed by rising disposable incomes and the strength of the labour and housing markets.
“Looking forward, interest rates are expected to rise gradually in 2016, although higher borrowing costs will prove to be only a slight dampener on economic confidence and activity.
“For SMEs, there are pressures from operating in an economy where wage costs are rising at the same time as prices of many goods are falling, although recent survey results indicate that more than half of all SMEs still expect to grow across the next 12 months.”