Bank of England Governor Mark Carney leads the bank's quarterly inflation report news conference at the Bank of England in London November 13, 2013. Photograph: Getty Images.
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Five questions answered on the Bank of England’s latest report

What is the Bank of England’s forecast for growth figures?

Bank of England governor Mark Carney has said in the banks latest report that the UK economic recovery has ‘taken hold’. We answer five questions on this latest news.

What has instigated this more positive economic outlook from Carney?

The report co-insides with positive unemployment figures that show employment is at its lowest in three years  – Carney previously said he would not consider raising interest rates, currently at 0.5 per cent until the jobless rate falls to 7 per cent or below.

What’s the current jobless rate?

On Wednesday latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) it fell to 7.6 per cent, the lowest rate in more than three years.

The number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance fell by 41,700 to 1.31 million in October.

There was also positive figures for youth unemployment with the number of jobless 16-to-24 year-olds falling by 9,000 to 965,000.

So, what is the Bank of England’s forecast for growth figures?

Growth for this year is forecast to be 1.6 per cent, up from 1.4 per cent previously.  Next year annual growth is expected to be 2.8 per cent, rather than the 2.5 per cent it predicted in August.

What else did the bank’s report say?

The report said: "In the United Kingdom, recovery has finally taken hold. The economy is growing robustly as lifting uncertainty and thawing credit conditions start to unlock pent-up demand."

When does the bank think unemployment will reach the magical 7 per cent figure?

The Bank said: "The MPC [Monetary Policy Committee] attaches only a two-in-five chance to the... unemployment rate having reached the 7 per cent threshold by the end of 2014.

"The corresponding figures for the end of 2015 and 2016 are around three in five and two in three respectively."

So, being optimistic unemployment could reach 7 per cent next year, two years ahead of the time frame given in August. 

Heidi Vella is a features writer for

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For the first time in my life I have a sworn enemy – and I don’t even know her name

The cyclist, though, was enraged. “THAT’S CLEVER, ISN’T IT?” she yelled. “WALKING IN THE ROAD!”

Last month, I made an enemy. I do not say this lightly, and I certainly don’t say it with pride, as a more aggressive male might. Throughout my life I have avoided confrontation with a scrupulousness that an unkind observer would call out-and-out cowardice. A waiter could bring the wrong order, cold and crawling with maggots, and in response to “How is everything?” I’d still manage a grin and a “lovely, thanks”.

On the Underground, I’m so wary of being a bad citizen that I often give up my seat to people who aren’t pregnant, aren’t significantly older than me, and in some cases are far better equipped to stand than I am. If there’s one thing I am not, it’s any sort of provocateur. And yet now this: a feud.

And I don’t even know my enemy’s name.

She was on a bike when I accidentally entered her life. I was pushing a buggy and I wandered – rashly, in her view – into her path. There’s little doubt that I was to blame: walking on the road while in charge of a minor is not something encouraged by the Highway Code. In my defence, it was a quiet, suburban street; the cyclist was the only vehicle of any kind; and I was half a street’s length away from physically colliding with her. It was the misjudgment of a sleep-deprived parent rather than an act of malice.

The cyclist, though, was enraged. “THAT’S CLEVER, ISN’T IT?” she yelled. “WALKING IN THE ROAD!”

I was stung by what someone on The Apprentice might refer to as her negative feedback, and walked on with a redoubled sense of the parental inadequacy that is my default state even at the best of times.

A sad little incident, but a one-off, you would think. Only a week later, though, I was walking in a different part of town, this time without the toddler and engrossed in my phone. Again, I accept my culpability in crossing the road without paying due attention; again, I have to point out that it was only a “close shave” in the sense that meteorites are sometimes reported to have “narrowly missed crashing into the Earth” by 50,000 miles. It might have merited, at worst, a reproving ting of the bell. Instead came a familiar voice. “IT’S YOU AGAIN!” she yelled, wrathfully.

This time the shock brought a retort out of me, probably the harshest thing I have ever shouted at a stranger: “WHY ARE YOU SO UNPLEASANT?”

None of this is X-rated stuff, but it adds up to what I can only call a vendetta – something I never expected to pick up on the way to Waitrose. So I am writing this, as much as anything, in the spirit of rapprochement. I really believe that our third meeting, whenever it comes, can be a much happier affair. People can change. Who knows: maybe I’ll even be walking on the pavement

Mark Watson is a stand-up comedian and novelist. His most recent book, Crap at the Environment, follows his own efforts to halve his carbon footprint over one year.

This article first appeared in the 20 October 2016 issue of the New Statesman, Brothers in blood