The Governor of the Bank of England, Sir Mervyn King, has insisted there are "a few signs" of recovery in the British economy.
"The last quarter was down, I think the next quarter will probably be up," he said.
"I think we are beginning to see a few signs now of a slow recovery, but it will be a slow recovery, after a banking crisis one can't expect to get back to normal and I fear it will take a long time."
Sir Mervyn cautioned Chancellor George Osborne not to water down the proposals for reform of the UK's banks proposed in Sir John Vickers' review.
And following reports that the Government could miss its target of beginning to see national debt falling by 2015/16, Sir Mervyn said that would be acceptable only if the global economy was growing slowly.