The UK economy has officially emerged from recession, but only by the skin of its teeth. Positive growth of 0.1% in the last three months of 2009 may have brought to an end a run of six successive quarters of economic contraction - the longest UK recession on record - but it still fell below many analysts' expectations.
As Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor Vince Cable put it, "the economy is only just staggering back into growth." As if to emphasise the point, Pricewaterhousecoopers this week released new figures showing that the rate at which businesses went insolvent in the last quarter of 2009 fell across all industry sectors apart from hospitality and leisure, where it rose by 12%.
Take into account the ailing pound, high unemployment and low GDP figures and crippling public debt and it's hard to see the news of the recession's end whipping the nation into a frenzy of carefree spending out of home. This year, you can expect to hear people adopt the vocabulary of caution: retrenchment, frugality and
Bocuse - we're backing Britain
If you've never been to the Bocuse d'Or competition in Lyon, don't worry, you're not alone. For some reason, the British team has never been able to galvanise the kind of flag-waving, foghorn-blasting, tub-thumping support other national teams bring with them. We aim to change all that. The Bocuse d'Or offers a global stage on which to parade all that's great about British food and cuisine, and we are getting behind National Chef of the Year Simon Hulstone and the British team as they prepare for next January's competition. You can play your part, too - just turn to page 28 to find out how.
Mark Lewis, Editor, Caterer and Hotelkeeper