Government warns over series of global threats

George Osborne

The UK government has said the country enters 2016 facing a “cocktail” of risks.

Problems in the Middle East, concern over growth in China, stock market volatility and falls in the price of commodities such as oil are a threat to the continued recovery of the UK economy, according to Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne.

Despite the UK’s relatively strong recovery, Osborne indicated this would be one of the most difficult years for the UK economy since the start of the financial crisis.

“This year opens with a dangerous cocktail of new threats,” Osborne said.

“We are only seven days into the New Year, and already we’ve had worrying news about stock market falls around the world, the slowdown in China (and) deep problems in Brazil and in Russia.”

Responding to Osborne’s comments, Airmic research and development manager Katie Moore said: “The recent financial crisis drove home the need for UK businesses to be alert to the risks associated with economic uncertainty, and Mr Osborne’s remarks are a timely reminder that risk managers must continue to be on top of their game.”

An added complication for 2016 which was not mentioned by Osborne is the UK’s referendum on European Union membership. This has to be held by the end of next year but it is likely the vote will take place at some point in 2016 and there are concerns that uncertainty ahead of any result is also a threat to the UK’s economic stability.