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BCC: UK Businesses 'expanding and creating jobs'

The BCC believes the UK will grow by 2.8%. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Archive/Press Association Images

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.

BCC: GDP up 'by 0.5%' in 2013

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.

In a wide ranging business survey, the British Chamber of Commerce found:

  • On the basis of its survey results, that the fourth quarter will have seen growth of 0.9%.
  • It shows most key indicators for the economy over the period better than pre-recession levels in 2007.
  • There are still some areas for concern - domestic sales and export orders fell back.
  • Manufacturers cash flow dropped, which highlights the need to improve borrowing, the BCC said.
  • Inflation was also a major area of concern for businesses.

'Confidence is high' according to business survey

Britain's tentative economic recovery has received another boost after a wide-ranging business survey showed growing confidence in the sector.

BCC director general John Longworth said the data was a "fantastic start" to 2014. Credit: PA

The quarterly poll by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) revealed confidence in the UK economy was growing and expected to strengthen in the short term.

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."


Chambers of Commerce: 'Economy not strong enough'

The British Chambers of Commerce has said that although the GDP figures are positive, it is too small a sign:

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."

BCC: ONS has 'exaggerated' economic weakness

David Kern, British Chambers of Commerce chief economist, said the results suggested the economy continued to grow in the first three months of 2013.

He added:

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.

Ed Miliband to propose new banking system

Labour leader Ed Miliband is today set to outline plans for a network of regional banks responsible for lending to local businesses:

Business leader demands more Government funding

The head of the British Chambers of Commerce has called on the Government to increase lending to businesses.

John Longworth told BBC Radio 4's Today programme:

We are very pleased the Government set up a Business Bank but it is not going to come soon enough and it is not going to operate in the way that we wanted it to.

It has got to have a direct relationship with business customers. We need another £9 billion over three years pumping into it so it can raise £100 billion to be able to lend to business.

The Bank of England could underwrite it, the Chancellor could underwrite it by putting money in from other spending.

– John Longworth
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