The European Union economy grew at its fastest pace in a decade last year, figures from the EU statistics office Eurostat have confirmed.

The 28-strong EU expanded by 2.5% in 2017, its strongest performance since 2007, when it grew by 2.7%- with Germany and France the engines at the heart of the growth story.

It comes as the International Monetary Fund warns Britain must make sweeping reforms to pensions, the planning system, infrastructure, education and training, and research and development if it wants to boost economic growth in the years to come.

The IMF says productivity and GDP growth have been relatively weak since the financial crisis, compared to historical levels and relative to other rich economies, and predicts GDP of around 1.5pc every year until 2023.

In this context, we really need to see more leadership from government on what the strategy is for business and the UK economy as a whole, as Brexit looms.

Having once been the ‘sick man of Europe’, before the UK’s economy grew to be the world’s fifth biggest, it would be an act of breath taking stupidity for that to happen again.