Money

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has downgraded its growth forecast for the UK economy.

Less than a week after its director general John Longworth stepped down following his comments on the EU referendum, the BCC now expects the economy to grow by 2.2% in 2016, down from its earlier forecast of 2.5%.

The Chambers of Commerce also cut its forecast for 2017 from 2.5% to 2.3%, and said it expects growth of 2.4% in 2018.

It said "global headwinds and uncertainty" in the domestic and global economies were largely to blame for the downgraded forecast.

Speaking to the BBC, acting director general Dr Adam Marshall said: "Obviously we've seen the turmoil on the financial markets in recent weeks, we've seen commodity prices and the price of oil, in particular, up and down.

"You've got economies elsewhere like the eurozone with huge stimulus measures unveiled yesterday where there are questions about the future performance of those economies and, of course, you've got the kind of political uncertainty in place like the Middle East."

The BCC also expects the economy to take a hit from household consumption - a vital driver in the service-led economy. In its forecasts, the organisation expects consumption to fall from 3% last year to 2.7% this year, before dropping to 2.4% in 2017 and 2.3% in 2018.

And the gulf between the services sector and manufacturing is expected to widen, with the BCC predicted manufacturing output will grow much slower than services at 0.5% this year, and 1.4% in both 2017 and 2018.