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.
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.
Britain's tentative economic recovery has received another boost after a wide-ranging business survey showed growing confidence in the sector.
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."
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."
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 admitted the survey showed the UK's economic performance was still "inadequate", but confirms areas of strength.
Labour leader Ed Miliband is today set to outline plans for a network of regional banks responsible for lending to local businesses:
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: