Business leaders are calling on the Government to introduce “Plan A+” to overcome the challenging market conditions despite better than expected growth futures.
The UK’s economic recovery hopes were boosted when GDP increased by 0.5 per cent in the three months to the end of September.
That represented an improvement on the 0.1 per cent rise in the previous quarter, the Office for National Statistics revealed, and was better than the between 0.3 per cent and 0.4 per cent predicted by economists.
Michael Ward, president of Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Group said it was important to back the Government’s deficit reduction programme which is critical to stabilising public finances and boosting confidence across the markets and the private sector as a whole.
He said: “We must stay on course and meet the government’s timetable for reducing the public deficit. However, it is imperative that the Government acts now to create the best possible business environment for jobs and growth and we strongly urge them to adopt ‘Plan A+’.
“This includes doing much more to boost confidence such as immediate action on reducing regulations. The Government is making the right noises about deregulation and better regulation but these actions must be brought forward and must happen now.
“Quantitative easing is important as is doing all we can to stabilise the Eurozone at this critical juncture. It’s also imperative that the Government does all it can to help SMEs. A lot rides on the Chancellor’s forthcoming announcement on credit easing. Businesses in Birmingham are doubtful that the Government’s proposals will assist them in accessing finance. We need much greater clarity on the proposals and as ever they must be simple and easy for small businesses to access quickly.
“It is important that the UKTI budget is restored to its pre-Spending Review state to help and support companies to export.
“We need to step up investment in infrastructure such as HS2, Birmingham airport runway extension and moving the A45.
“BCCG’s quarter three economic survey of its members rams home the challenges we face in Birmingham. Only 37 per cent of manufacturers say they had increased orders and home market sales dropped to 41 per cent compared with 47 per cent in the previous quarter.
“Orders also fell and the picture is much the same in the service sector with home and export sales and orders in decline.
“The Government must take rapid action to implement an economic boost.”
The GDP figures will help ease some of the fears about the strength of the recovery after the economy effectively flatlined over the previous nine months.
But the growth is still below its long-term average and economists warn the latest figures were flattered as GDP played catch-up after the previous quarter, which was hit by one-off factors such as the royal wedding.