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CBI survey suggests that UK growth is accelerating


New figures from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) suggest that the British economy expanded by 0.7% in the three months to March, compared to 0.6% in the previous quarter.


The CBI expects growth to continue to accelerate in the first half of 2015. Deputy director general Katja Hall said: "The outlook for 2015 looks encouraging. Our surveys show it's been a solid start to the year with the prospect of stronger growth to come. The benefits of lower oil prices should be increasingly felt; with cheaper petrol boosting households' incomes and spending power, and cutting costs for many businesses”.


Every month the business lobby group surveys 764 private firms from a range of sectors, generating a series of business indicators.


Its private sector growth indicator showed an overall reading of 18% for the three months to March - a slight but not significant fall from the 19% figure in the three months to February (the percentage reading indicates the number of firms reporting that business performance was up, compared to the number reporting that it was down).


Meanwhile, a separate measure suggests that activity in the UK services sector accelerated in March at its fastest rate since August last year. The Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) rose to 58.9 from February's reading of 56.7 (a figure above 50 indicates growth, while below 50 suggests contraction).


Markit announced that its surveys of the construction, manufacturing and service sectors when considered together also implied first quarter economic growth of 0.7%.