Interviews

Economy growing at fastest rate since 2007 but "more must be done"

3 min read

28 January 2014

The UK's economy has been growing at its fastest rate since 2007, latest GDP figures and a separate poll by the CBI suggest.

The Office for National Statistics figures show that the economy grew by 1.9 per cent in 2013, and 0.7 per cent in the fourth quarter. The construction sector dipped slightly in Q4 despite a particularly good year overall, but both manufacturing and services grew in every quarter.

John Allan, National Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses, said the news was encouraging but that politicians need to continue to focus on growth enhancing measures and a positive business environment.

He said: “Our research has shown rising small business confidence across all sectors and regions. We expect that positive sentiment to continue in 2014, with indicators showing increased investment intentions and further job creation, which should see a further boost from the forthcoming Employers Allowance”

Meanwhile the CBI’s Growth Indicator found that output volumes in the three months to January increased by 30 per cent, the highest since September 2007.

Katja Hall, CBI chief policy director, said: “A picture is unfolding of a real upsurge in output across much of the UK economy. Many firms in many sectors are feeling brighter about their prospects than they have for a long time, showing the recovery is gaining traction.

But John Longworth, DG of the British Chamber of Commerce, said that more needs to be done to help businesses.

He said: “It is of course heartening that Britain is now amongst the fastest-growing advanced economies. But more must be done to shore up the foundations of this recovery if it is to be a lasting one. 

“Unless we do much better on the three ‘T’s – training, transport infrastructure and trade support – our aspirations for investment at home and success around the globe cannot be achieved.

“We mustn’t pat ourselves on the back for a recovery that is merely good, when what we need is a recovery that is truly great.”

Brendan Flattery, CEO of Sage UK and Ireland, said: “Amongst the small business owners we speak to there is a real sense that a corner has been turned after years in the doldrums. What we need to see to support a strong recovery is greater access to finance for start-ups and entrepreneurs.
 
“On top of that, the Government needs to follow through on its pledge yesterday to cut needless red tape and regulation to make it easier for firms to do business in Britain.”

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