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Survival guide to ‘new normal’ We may not have officially entered a triple-dip recession (yet), but we are not exactly on the road to recovery. Here Kathryn Gaw guides you through the year ahead.

Byline: Kathryn Gaw

IT’S official: we have avoided a triple-dip recession. Despite
unseasonably bad weather, a widening trade deficit and a new raft of
austerity measures, Britain’s economy actually grew by 0.3 per cent
in the first three months of the year, much better than the 0.1 per cent
that most people were predicting.

So where’s the party? Despite a monumental build-up, the
announcement was not exactly met with celebrations. As a nation, we are
so used to the “new normal” of economic uncertainty that we
have almost become too cautious about economic recovery.

We have had bumpy growth for a number of quarters Even chancellor
George Osborne played down the good news, saying “I can’t
promise the road ahead will always be smooth”, while
deputy prime

 Nick Clegg admitted “we’re not out of the woods

Joe Grice, chief economist of the Office for National Statistics,
says: “We have had bumpy growth for a number of quarters, sometimes
up, sometimes down.

“The overall growth has been much shallower than the economy
in the pre-recession period.

“Whether today’s figure marks the start of a fundamental
break from that pattern isn’t yet clear.”

Such marginal growth is not a sign of economic success, or
stability. There is still a long way to go before we return to those

1. A kingfisher, especially one of the genus Halcyon.

2. A fabled bird, identified with the kingfisher, that was supposed to have had the power to calm the wind and the waves while it nested on the sea
 pre-2008 days, when we could afford to heat our homes in the

In the year ahead, the powers that be will be fighting against the
tide to maintain economic growth,
by any means necessary

, so growth is
likely to be faltering for the foreseeable future, and the merest sign
of economic contraction will rekindle the triple-dip chatter.

However, even
in the midst

 of economic uncertainty, there are a few
bright spots for the savvy consumer.

this could be the best time ever to get into debt.

Across the UK, house prices are still far below their pre-2008
peak, while banks and building societies are competing to offer the
lowest interest rates on fixed-rate and variable mortgages. The only
catch? You’ll need a sizeable deposit, around 40per cent of the
value of the property, and of course you’ll need a decent credit

RETHINK YOUR SAVINGS YOU will struggle to find a
savings account

the British high street which even matches the current rate of inflation
(2.8 per cent).

If your savings are already losing their
spending power

, you have
nothing to lose by looking elsewhere for a better return.

Transfer your cash Isa into a higher-yielding account; look away
from the high street to online options such as peer-to-peer lenders;
invest in a low-risk fund with a good track record.

Right now, the biggest risk you can take with your money is leaving
it in a bank account where it’s guaranteed to lose its value until
the economy improves significantly.


 and New York’s Dow
Jones have reported record highs recently, although they have been
unable to sustain high values for more than a couple of weeks. If you
believe in economic recovery over the next five to 10 years, this could
be your chance to buy into the market while it’s still relatively
cheap but on its way up.

GET INVOLVED IN POLITICS BRITS love a moan, but we forget we have
the power to change things.

Political policy plays an enormous role in our economy – if you
disagree with a policy, arrange a meeting with your MP and ask them to
present your queries and concerns to Parliament.

Our politicians are employed by us, and their job is to represent
our issues, no matter how minor.

TOP FIVE SAVER RATES Phone/Website Rate Account Period Deposit
Interest Paid Skipton BS 3.00% (F) E-Bond 5 Yr Bnd (W)
PS500 Yly FirstSave 2.90% (F) Fixed Rate Bond 1st 5
Yr Bnd PS1,000 Yly Shawbrook Bank 2.75% (F) Fixed
Rate Bond 5 Yr Bnd (B) PS5,000 Yly
Islamic Bank of Britain

 24 Mth Bnd
PS1,000 Qly 0121 452 7300 2.63% (F) Sharia”a Compliant Fixed
Cheshire BS (*) ISA Saver (Issue 3) None
PS1,000 Yly TOP FIVE MORTGAGE RATES Phone No Rate Period Max% Adv Fee
Incentive Norwich & Peterborough BS 0845 300 2522 2.24% For 2 years
60% PS295 Yes Holmesdale BS 01737 245 716 2.29% For 2 years 75% PS495

HSBC Humane Society of Bay County  
 0800 077 4178 2.38% for term 60% PS1,499 Yes Norwich &
Peterborough BS 0845 300 2522 2.49% For 3 years 60% PS295 Yes Norwich
& Peterborough BS 0845 300 2522 2.74% For 5 Years 60% PS295 Yes
Code: * – Introductory rate for a limited period; F – Fixed.

Source: MoneyPSacts – Tel: 01603 476 476 (All rates subject to
change without notice)

We have had bumpy growth for a number of quarters


Joe Grice, chief economist of the Office for National Statistics

Britain may have avoided a triple-dip recession, but finances are
still being squeezed (top right). Even chancellor George Osborne, right,
has played down the good news