The director general of the British Chamber of Commerce has said that UK businesses are "expanding and creating jobs".
John Longworth said: "Our economic recovery is gaining momentum. Businesses across the UK are expanding and creating jobs, and our increasingly sunny predictions for growth are a testament to their drive and ambition."
The BCC expects the first increase in interest rates will happen in the autumn next year - one quarter earlier than previously envisaged, before rising to 1.5% in the second half of 2016. GDP will be 2.5% next year and in 2016.
Britain's gross domestic produce (GDP), the goods and services produced in the UK, grew by 0.5% at the beginning of 2013, before "accelerating" to 0.8% in the second and third quarters, according to a new report.
The BCC quizzed 8,000 business and found manufacturing emerging as one of the most robust areas, with confidence in domestic orders, employment, turnover and profitability at an all-time high.
BCC director general John Longworth said: "It is a fantastic start to the new year with a very positive quarterly survey. Confidence is high and our members are resolute in their determination to take the recovery from being good to being truly great.
"Firms across the board believe they can create jobs, invest and export. But businesses have major ambitions and to be able to meet them more support must be provided."
Although GDP figs are encouraging, means little when looking at big economic picture, says @britishchambers DG, John Longworth
John Longworth, Director General of the BCC, said:
“Although the progress seen in the first quarter of this year is modest, it is progress nonetheless. Business confidence has increased further, and it is really encouraging to see export orders and deliveries near to their record high levels in services.
"But the fact remains that the economy is still not strong enough. The fall in most employment balances is disappointing, and reminds us that a strong labour market cannot be taken for granted."
David Kern, British Chambers of Commerce chief economist, said the results suggested the economy continued to grow in the first three months of 2013.
The survey reinforces our assessment that recent gross domestic product (GDP) figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have exaggerated the weakness of the UK economy and the volatility in output.
If an announcement of negative growth in the first quarter is misleadingly described as a triple-dip recession, confidence will again be damaged unnecessarily.
He admitted the survey showed the UK's economic performance was still "inadequate", but confirms areas of strength.
Speaking at the annual British Chambers of Commerce conference today, director general John Longworth will call on ministers to stimulate growth through "a massive infrastructure development programme.
Mr Longworth will also say the Government needs to address "a long term structural fault in UK business finance."
We have to ask ourselves in the UK, do we have the creativity, the talent, the enterprise and the capacity for sheer hard work to build and drive the UK economy? And I say - you are darn right we do.
I visit hundreds of chamber businesses every year and it strikes me that they can do anything they set their minds to, and can trade the world with the best. Confidence is the key, confidence and an enterprise-friendly environment.