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Rob Johnston, Chief Executive, Cumbria Chamber of Commerce has commented on the first estimate for GDP in Quarter 3, 2012 (to September)
Mr Johnston said: “The first estimate of GDP for the third quarter of 2012 shows that the UK economy has returned to growth, with the increase higher than many had expected. Both manufacturing and services have recorded growth over the quarter, although the construction industry declined by 2.5%, meaning the sector is more than 10% smaller than it was a year ago.
"While this is positive news, the quarter 3 figure of 1% does include distortions due to the Jubilee and Olympics. Compared to a year earlier the figures show that the economy is stagnant, with growth for 2012 overall to date at 0.3%, 3 per cent below the level seen at the beginning of 2008 when the recession started.
And the Olympics weren’t good news for everyone. While they provided a significant boost to the economy in and around London, the visitor economy here in Cumbria (and elsewhere) suffered badly from the Olympic effect and we must hope to see a more positive picture next year.
"That said, the continuing decline shown by stats for the last two quarters has been somewhat at odds with business surveys and other feedback here in the county and with employment figures, and this view is reflected by other Chambers nationally.
"This is only an initial figure but given that it’s 1% growth it’s unlikely that a revision would show a negative growth and earlier quarter figures may still be revised upwards.
The news is particularly welcome in that it will help give many businesses the confidence to invest. Many businesses are looking for ways to grow and have opportunities to do so, but continuing issues accessing finance and the effect on business confidence of headlines declaring a double-dip recession have a dampening effect, even here in Cumbria where we’ve not felt the worst of the recession.
"The Government still has work to do to ensure that an economic recovery is sustainable and there are still challenges ahead, with weak global growth and the ongoing eurozone crisis creating difficulties for many businesses. Ministers must listen to calls from businesses to help them get the finance they need and support to exploit new international markets. With the right measures over the medium to long term such as investment in infrastructure, creation of an
effective British Business Bank and meaningful deregulation, the UK economy can be put firmly back on the road to recovery.
This boost to confidence coincides here in Cumbria with the success of the LEP’s recent Regional Growth Fund bid to provide grants to businesses and the whole package of other support for businesses that’s now falling into place, with exciting new projects about to be launched by the Chamber. Together these will make a real difference to our local businesses. Any businesses interested in accessing these should contact the LEP through email@example.com or the Chamber through firstname.lastname@example.org.”