Chancellor George Osborne said this week that 2016 is likely to be one of the toughest since the financial crisis. He told business leaders that far from "mission accomplished" on the economy, "2016 is the year of mission critical", which is in stark contrast to the positive tone of his Autumn Statement, when he said the UK was "growing fast". Analysts are predicting that interest rates could rise this year, the first time since 2007. Treasury sources pointed out, however, that is not a decision for the Chancellor and Mr Osborne has denied he was putting any pressure on the Bank of England to raise interest rates. He added that rising interest rates should be seen as a sign of a strong economy.