BRITAIN'S ECONOMY is currently growing at its fastest pace since 2000, according to latest estimates, but its people are saving less than previously thought.
The Scotsman reports the Office for National Statistics yesterday raised its estimates of how fast UK GDP is growing, suggesting the Bank of England may have to revised its outlook for interest rates.
New methods for calculating the contribution of the NHS were largely responsible for the changes, the paper says.
According to ONS' findings, GDP increased by 3.4% in the first quarter this year.
Economists believe the revised figure could force BoE governor Mervyn King to raise his two-year inflation forecast in his next estimates - due in August.
OTHER FINDINGS by the ONS were, however, less encouraging after it downgraded for the second time estimates of Britons' retirement savings, admitting it was still double counting pensions contributions.
The Daily Telegraph says the statisitcal bureau had originally assumed around £86bn of pension contributions were flowing into insurance companies in 2002.
It later cut that estimate into half, and yesterday it took away another £12bn off the amount, leaving the total standing at just £27bn.
Shadow pensions secretary David Willetts believes this is just another sign of the UK pensions crisis.
The Daily Telegraph quotes him as saying: "The Government's green papers on pensions have rested on complacent assumptions of the amount of money we were saving which have been proved to be false.
"It has been a slow crab-like process from fantasy to reality," he added.
THE TIMES also reports on the ONS figures, saying the findings revealed government spending has soared at its fastest rate for almost three decades.
According to the ONS, government spending in the first quarter of 2004 rose by 5.7% — the sharpest increase since the start of 1975.
This surge was also nearly twice the size of the 2.9% increase previously estimated by the ONS.
The Conservatives suggests this is just a sign of a pre-election spending spree.
The Shadow Chancellor Oliver Letwin said: "If this isn't a pre-election spending spree I don’t know what is. Bigger and bigger government based on big borrowing in order to get a big political gain in the short term produces big problems for the future."IFAonline
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