Britain bounces back - but what about the East?

Milltech
Milltech Engineering near Norwich Photo: ITV Anglia

The UK's economy is back in growth, ending the longest period of double dip recession since the Second World War. But do the figures truly reflect what is happening here in the East?

GDP figures published on the 25th October show the economy expanded by 1% between July and September, which is the fastest rate of growth since 2007. Production is up by 1.1% on the previous quarter and the service sector picked up 1.3%, although construction is down by 2.5%.

On the outskirts of Milton Keynes the Scottish drinks giant AG Barr is building a massive factory and distribution centre. It will be the company's first major plant south south of the border, producing 400 million cans a year. AG Barr's Operations Director Andrew Memmott says at the moment the company is performing better in the south of England than in the North, which could be good news for the local jobs market when the Milton Keynes plant opens in spring next year.

"In 2008 we acquired the brand Rubicon so that augmented the portfolio. Where Irn Bru historically was as a business we were strong in Scotland on a sales perspective and weakened as we went south... Rubicon reversed that so we're seeing far greater levels of growth - while we're seeing growth across the UK as a whole we're seeing greater strength of growth in the south than in the north."

– Andrew Memmott - Operations Director, AG Barr

Further up the M1 near Northampton is Xcam, who make specialist cameras for science industries. The company has grown by about 70 per cent every year since 2008, and its Chief Executive says engineering in the area is strong.

"I think we've got a fantastic cluster of engineering in Northamptonshire, [companies] who maybe originally were here because of the Formula One racing industry but they are now looking to diversify into other market areas and medical devices... So although we can make use of companies to communicate very far away, there is nothing to substitute going down there and poring over an engineering drawing if there's a problem for example".

– Karen Holland - CEO, Xcam

Milltech Precision Engineering near Norwich is a member of the ITV Business Club, which has been advising us on the state of the economy during 2012. The company began the year with high hopes of expansion, but it has not been as easy as they had hoped.

"We really don't think we've turned the corner yet. We haven't seen anything sustained, we've had one month of reasonable back to normal intake. It'll take a lot more than that to feel confident enough to continue with our further plans for the future".

– Mike Ottolangui - Milltech Precision Engineering.

David Cameron has acknolwedged that despite the recent growth there is still a long way to go, but he says that the figures do show the Government is on the right track. So although those famous green shoots of recovery have finally emerged few, including the Prime Minister, are taking anything for granted just yet.