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Growth is gathering momentum, but recovery is not secure, say Chambers

The British Chambers of Commerce has today (Friday) upgraded its UK growth forecasts for the next three years, but has warned the recovery is not yet secure.

The lobbying group – which represents 52 accredited Chambers of Commerce and 92,0000 member businesses across the UK – now expects 1.3 percent growth in 2013, up from 0.9 percent, due mainly to stronger than expected GDP growth in Q2 of 2013 of 0.7 percent, along with a strong service sector and household consumption.

Its forecasts for the next two years have been raised from 1.9 percent and 2.4 per cent to 2.2 percent in 2014 and 2.5 percent in 2015.

In its Q3 economic forecast, the business group warns that while the upgraded figures are encouraging, the recovery is still not secure and many challenges remain.

John Longworth, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “The improved outlook is testament to the steadfast determination shown by businesses in previous quarters, who have consistently displayed confidence in the face of unwarranted pessimism over the economy.

“Unfortunately however the recovery is not yet secure. We have had false dawns in recent years and although this upturn appears to be on stronger ground, we must be aware that complacency could lead to setbacks.

“There are many external factors, such as the eurozone, the Middle East, and the Chinese economy that could halt our progress. However our surveys have shown that firms are confident about their prospects and want to expand, but they cannot do it alone.

“Improving access to finance for viable, fast-growing businesses is a major priority, and the government and the MPC must do more to ensure that vibrant SMEs can obtain finance on reasonable terms.

“The government must also work with the Bank of England and the Treasury to underwrite private sector investment in infrastructure projects, and our ‘have a go’ exporters need support on the ground to help them break into new markets.

“The government simply cannot divert attention away from growth, and must adopt measures to foster an enterprise-friendly environment in which businesses can continue to create jobs, invest and export.

“Only by doing this will we encourage the optimism and move our economy forward from good to great.”