Britain’s recession will be shorter and shallower than for much of the rest of Europe, the European Commission forecast yesterday.

But it warned that the country’s public finances would be among the worst in the 27-nation bloc.

Revising down growth prospects across Europe, the Commission reversed its January prediction that Britain would sit low down the EU economic league table. It now expects the UK economy to contract by 3.8% this year, before growing by 0.1% in 2010.

This would be a better performance than the Commission’s expectation for an EU-wide contraction of 4 per cent in 2009. But the EU’s UK forecast is more pessimistic than the Treasury’s of a 3.5% drop in GDP made in last month’s Budget.

Financial Times