PRIVATE sector growth picked up in the quarter to December, according to a new report.

The latest CBI Growth Indicator survey, which covers 642 respondents, shows the balance of firms reporting a rise in output at plus-19 per cent, compared with plus-six per cent in the three months to November.

It said growth was broad-based, with all sectors reporting robust output volume growth last quarter at a pace above their long-run averages.

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However, the report added private sector growth is set to return to a more moribund pace over the next three months, with growth expected to stall across the services sector and slow in distribution and manufacturing.

Anna Leach, CBI head of economic intelligence, said: “Private sector firms are enjoying healthy activity levels as we approach the year end, but mediocre expectations for growth underline the ongoing challenges facing companies.

“Persistent cost pressures will ensure inflation remains at a high level, perpetuating the squeeze on household spending, particularly impacting consumer-facing firms and retailers.”