In the United Kingdom, the economic recovery remains weak and uneven. Domestic demand increased moderately during 2012, but this was largely offset by a pronounced fall in exports.
Employment continued to grow strongly. The weakness of productivity suggests that the financial crisis may still be weighing on the current effective supply capacity of the economy as well as on demand.
The MPC judges that the growth of both demand and effective supply are likely to pick up gradually over the next year or so, supported by past asset purchases, an easing in credit conditions aided by the Funding for Lending Scheme, and a continuing improvement in the global environment. But the legacy of adjustment and repair left by the financial crisis means that the recovery is likely to remain weak by historical standards.
CPI inflation remains above the 2% target and is set to edge higher over coming months. Inflation is likely to stay above the target for much of the next two years, bolstered by external price pressures and administered and regulated prices. But inflation is expected to fall back to around 2% in the latter part of the forecast period, as external price pressures fade and a gradual revival in productivity growth curbs increases in domestic costs.
White: Irish was the oldest ethnic group, with a median age of 53, compared to the national median of 39. People in the White: British ethnic group had a median age of 42.
People in mixed ethnic groups had the lowest median ages, with the Mixed: White and Black African having a median age of 16.
People with a White: British, White: Gypsy or Irish Traveller or Mixed ethnic group were more likely to record a UK country specific (such as English or Welsh) national identity, whereas other ethnic groups were more likely to record their national identity as “British”.
The White: other and White: Irish had the lowest proportion within their ethnic group associating with any of the UK national identities – 22 per cent and 39 per cent respectively.
Almost half (46 per cent, 3.4 million) of those born outside the UK held a UK passport in 2011.
Of the population who did not speak English as a first language, those in the younger age groups were most likely to speak English well, with 93 per cent (154,000) of 10-14 year olds speaking it well, compared to only 46 per cent of those aged 85 or over.
Different religious groups had significantly different age profiles, with Christians having the highest median age (45) and Muslims the lowest (25).
58 per cent (3.3 million) of people providing unpaid care were female and 47 per cent (2.7 million) were aged 45 to 64.
“The combination of recession and austerity has taken its toll on household finances, with income levels in the UK falling behind many of its European neighbours. ‘Even before the recession, household spending in the UK was far more reliant on debt than in other advanced economies. In order to address this as a country we need to obsess less about housing bubbles and focus instead on securing decent pay rises and creating better paid jobs.”