British businesses are in for a "bumpier ride" over the next two years, according to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). The body predicts a GDP growth rate of 1.8 per cent this year, due to increased commodity prices and uncertainty in the credit markets. However, the CBI claims that the long-term outlook for UK businesses is "positive". Richard Lambert, the CBI’s director general, comments: "While there are signs of a high street slowdown and some firms say it’s getting harder to raise bank finance, around the country many still report quite positive conditions." The CBI is also expecting Bank of England interest cuts over the coming year, bringing rates down to 4.5 per cent by 2009. Mr Lambert adds that the country’s corporate balance sheet and labour market are in "good shape" and predicts the economy will begin a gradual recovery next year. The CBI is the leading lobbying organisation for British businesses on national and international matters.