UK economy seen growing at fastest pace since 2007

George Osborne In Thought

Britain's economy grew at its fastest rate in 2013 in six years, according to a report released ahead of the official GDP numbers.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI), a business lobbying group, forecast the U.K. economy grew by close to 2 percent last year, with improving credit conditions and the better global economy feeding through to rising consumer spending and business confidence.

"A picture is unfolding of a real upsurge in output across much of the U.K. economy," Katja Hall, CBI chief policy director, said in a news release.

"Many firms in many sectors are feeling brighter about their prospects than they have for a long time, showing the recovery is gaining traction.

"We certainly need companies investing more and creating a bigger footprint in fast-growing markets, and while some risks remain, we expect the economy to continue to strengthen through 2014," she added.

The CBI's monthly Growth Indicator showed the U.K. economy continued to build momentum towards the end of 2013, with output volumes growing by 30 percent in the three months to January. This is the fastest rate since September 2007.

Companies also expect robust output growth in the first quarter of 2014, the CBI said.

Its forecast follows a string of upbeat reports on the country's economy.

(Read more: UK manufacturers upbeat for 2014 )

Unemployment fell to 7.1 percent in the three months to November, the lowest level since 2009. Meanwhile, inflation met the 2 percent target set by the Bank of England in December, for the first time since November 2009.

In addition, the International Monetary Fund has raised the U.K.'s growth forecast for 2014 from 1.9 percent to 2.4 percent.

(Read more: IMF upgrades world growth forecast to 3.7% in 2014 )

The official preliminary estimate of U.K. fourth quarter 2013 growth will be published at 9:30 a.m. GMT.

-By CNBC's Arjun Kharpal: Follow him on Twitter @ArjunKharpal

image: © Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Bank Workers CharityBank Workers Charity - Supporting bank workers

Register for Financial Markets News Alerts