The Guardian online reports a slow and uncertain recovery

The west's leading economic 'thinktank' has forecast Britain's economy will contract by less than feared this year but warned recovery will be slow and uncertain against a worsening international backdrop.

In its half-yearly forecasts, the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development said the global slowdown, the Eurozone crisis, the government's deficit reduction programme and the paying down of consumer debt were all acting as a brake on growth.

The OECD said it expected UK national output to shrink by 0.1% this year, a less gloomy prediction than the 0.7% contraction it had pencilled in back in August before news of the 1% expansion in activity in the third quarter of 2012.

Growth is projected to recover gradually and gain momentum towards the end of 2013, as exports and household spending pick up as confidence recovers", the think-tank said in its economic outlook.

The OECD, which has 34 rich country members, added: "Although employment grew strongly in 2012, unemployment is expected to rise slightly in 2013, as the subdued recovery and continued uncertainty may make firms hesitant to hire."