The UK will enjoy its strongest year of growth since modern records began in 1948 as the economy surges back to life after a rapid vaccine rollout, the boss of Barclays has predicted.
Jes Staley said he expects the UK to have a very robust recovery alongside the US, posting its biggest rebound for decades on the back of a post-lockdown consumer spending spree.
He said: “Our economic forecast is for the UK economy to grow by 6.5pc this year, which would be the strongest growth rate in the British economy since 1948.
“There’s tremendous pent-up demand, both with the consumer and small businesses, and we see that as a result of the vaccination programme, which has been an extraordinary success in the UK.”
It came as Barclays unveiled pre-tax profits of £2.4bn for the first quarter of the 2021, their highest level in 13 years.
The robust performance was driven by strong growth in its corporate and investment banking division and bumper mortgage lending after house prices took off following Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s stamp duty cut.
Barclays’ share trading floor beat forecasts in the first quarter during a period of wild swings on the stock market, despite a weaker performance elsewhere in the bank’s markets division.
Mr Staley said: “As we enter the next phase of this pandemic, we remain resolute in our commitment to support the economic recovery.
“From our spend data, which captures UK economic activity across our cards and acquiring businesses, we are already seeing encouraging early signs of recovery in some sectors, including those hit hardest by the crisis.”