The UK economy is at a “critical juncture” and needs more assistance if it is not to stall, according to the latest findings from Ernst & Young’s Item Club. The warning came as the Item Club downgraded its forecast for gross domestic product (GDP) to just 0.9% this year, below the 1.4% it had predicted three months ago. It also cut is growth forecasts for 2012 to 1.5% from 2.2% and said that unemployment would keep climbing until it peaks at 2.7 million people in spring 2013. The autumn report also said that the recent quantitative easing from the Bank of England was “unlikely to kick start the economy in the face of worries about the euro zone debt crisis and uncertain global demand”. Peter Spencer, chief economic advisor to the Item Club, said: “It's worse than we thought. The bright spots in our forecast three months ago – business investment and exports – have dimmed to a flicker as uncertainty around Greece and the stability of the euro zone increases."