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The UK economy will grow more slowly this year than previously forecast, the Chancellor George Osborne has said.


The independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecast 1.7% growth in 2011, compared with its previous estimate of the 2.1%.

This is morein line with�����ϣ�һ�£�market analysts' forecasts.

The downgrade was due to slower growth at the end of last year, higher commodity prices and higher-than-expected inflation, Mr Osborne said.

Growth next year would be 2.5%, compared with the previous forecast of 2.6%, and 2.9% in 2013, in line with the last estimate, the chancellor said.

The pound fell on the currency markets immediately following the growth downgrades, but recovered soon after.

Higher borrowing

Delivering his second Budget, the chancellor also revealed that government borrowing would be lower this year than previously thought, but would be higher in subsequent years.

The OBR expects public sector net borrowing to come in at £146bn for the current financial year, slightly less than the previous estimate of £148.5bn.

Figures released this week showed that the total for the financial year to the end of February was £123.5bn.

In the following years, however, borrowing will be higher than previously forecast, at £122bn in 2011-12, against the last estimate of £117bn, £101bn in 2012-13 (compared with £91bn), £70bn in 2013-14 (£60bn), £46bn in 2014-15 (£35bn) and £29bn in 2015-16 (£18bn).

This totals £44.5bn of additional borrowing over the period compared with the previous forecasts.

"The borrowing numbers are a bit higher than expected despite the fact that the Budget is supposedly fiscally neutral," said Jonathan Loynes at Capital Economics.

"And yet they're still dependent on a pretty strong pick up in GDP growth in the next few years. I guess that suggests that the fiscal plans are vulnerable to weaker-than-expected out-turns in the economy."

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