Figures showing the UK has fallen deeper into recession have prompted the chief executive of Essex Chambers of Commerce (ECC) to call for “bold” action from the Government.
The economy shrank by 0.3 per cent in the first three months of the year, more than previously thought, the Office for National Statistics said last week. The downward revision was due to a bigger contraction in construction output than estimated.
The economy also shrank by 0.3 per cent in the final three months of last year, meaning the UK is back in recession.
ECC chief Denise Rossiter said: “Over the past quarter, business surveys have shown that companies are more optimistic than many of the economic indicators suggest. Many of our members tell us they don’t identify with such pessimistic statistics and are cautiously optimistic.
“Deficit reduction is crucial to our economy, but there are measures the Government can take to free up business to grow. Firms need to see real deregulation, improved access to finance through the creation of a state-backed business bank, robust infrastructure like transport and energy networks, and ways to help them take on more staff.
“Reforms to planning rules promised in Westminster must make it out to the real world so businesses can expand.
“Now is not the time for short-term politics. Now is the time for a bold, enterprise-friendly Government to enable business to grow in the long term and squeeze every drop of potential growth from companies across the country. Without this, the economy will continue to bump along the bottom rather than returning to growth.”
Ms Rossiter urged: “Businesses don’t need handouts, they need a Government that will facilitate growth and address market failures where they exist, for example in access to finance. If the Government wants businesses to invest and grow at a time of global uncertainty, it needs to generate stability and a better business environment at home by setting business free.”