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© Provided by This Is Money Positive outlook: The Bank of England’s chief economist Andy Haldane

The economy is on course for a rapid recovery as restrictions ease, the Bank of England chief economist has predicted.

Andy Haldane’s comments came as the Bank painted a brighter picture for the UK, boosted by a successful vaccine programme that will allow parts of the economy to reopen next month.

Speaking at an awards ceremony for Women In Business and Finance, he said: ‘As I’ve been saying for months – I do think more likely than not we are set for a rapid-fire recovery. I think that is coming soon.’

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The economist expects there to be a spending frenzy once lockdown is lifted and people return to shops, offices and bars.

The Bank was also upbeat at its latest Monetary Policy Committee meeting, leaving rates at 0.1 per cent.

The Bank said there was evidence the economic recovery was gathering momentum and that data showed consumer confidence had picked up.

It said: ‘The news on near-term economic activity has been positive. The number of new Covid cases has fallen markedly across the UK and the vaccination programme has proceeded at a rapid pace.’