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Things are looking up for economy, agree businesses leaders

Business lobbyists have welcomed today’s news that the economy grew by 0.6 percent between April and June, compared with the first three months of 2013.

But lobbying groups have demanded more action from the government to sustain growth.

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics also suggest that Quarter 2 GDP has increased 1.4% year-on-year, with services growth up 0.6 percent on the quarter (2.1 percent on the year), manufacturing growth up 0.4 percent on the quarter (0.9 percent on the year) and construction output up 0.9 percent on the quarter (one percent on the year).

Although only estimates, the news has been welcomed by business lobby groups.

John Longworth, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: ““The modest, positive growth seen in the second quarter of the year shows that things are looking up.

“The gradual progress made by the UK economy – particularly in the services sector where exports continue to surge – is pleasing to see.

“Confidence among businesses is high when looking ahead to profitability and turnover, and many have intentions to take on staff later this year.”

But he warned: “Strong, sustained growth requires efforts from the government too, as businesses need an enterprise-friendly environment for the economic to go from good to great.

“New and existing exporters need more support to help them diversify into fast-growing markets, and access to finance for dynamic, growing businesses must be made more available.

“We must be careful not to choke off the growing optimism and confidence that is coming through, but instead be more proactive in nurturing the modest recovery that is starting to gather pace.”

John Allan, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses said: “It is clearly welcome that the economy grew by 0.6 percent in the second quarter and that growth was seen across all sectors.

“This gathering momentum fits with the results of own recent small business index, which showed firms expected faster export performance in the coming three months and that more businesses were planning to grow in the next 12 months.

“In order for to build on this momentum and for small businesses to meet their aspirations and further strengthen the economic outlook, they need a stable environment. The capital spending on projects announced by the Chancellor recently, will have a positive effect on growth in the medium-term and the employment allowance announced at the Budget may help more firms to invest in jobs.

“The Government should now look to further supporting UK small businesses by increasing competition in banking, enabling a better energy deal and simplifying the complex number of back to work schemes.”

And Phil Orford, of the Forum of Private Business, said: “Today’s figures confirm what most had long suspected, and that’s that the UK economy is at last steering to calmer waters with a recovery that’s gathering pace.”

“Of course there’s no room for complacency though, and we urge the government to address the many burning issues such as red tape which continue to make life difficult for small firms – the real drivers of the UK economy. The government still has much to do when it comes to simplifying the tax system, and as a matter of urgency government has to address the matter of spiralling business rates.”

“We also urge the banks to help the momentum by resuming proper lending to those firms desperate for cash. While RBS is currently auditing their lending processes, we would like to see more banks go the extra mile too.” 

“While today’s news is most welcome, there is still a mountain to climb,” he added.