The Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire Chambers of Commerce have welcomed recent positive Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures, which showed the UK economy grew by 0.7 per cent in the last three months of 2013.
The figures, released by the Office for National Statistics, confirmed the economy expanded by 1.9 per cent in 2013 – the highest percentage of GDP growth in a calendar year since 2007.
The data is in-line with the Chamber’s own Quarterly Economic Surveys in 2013, which found that locally, the economy grew steadily throughout the year, helped by increased domestic and export sales and orders and rising business confidence.
DNLCC Group Chief Executive George Cowcher said: “Today’s positive growth figures provide further evidence that the economy has turned a corner, the recovery is strengthening and business confidence is improving.
“They come on the back of last week’s positive employment data and fresh figures from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which upgraded its forecast for UK growth. The data endorses the Chambers’ own research, which showed rising confidence among businesses, increased recruitment and more investment in 2013.
“The key message continues to be that with employment up, unemployment down and economic inactivity down, things are progressing well. But politicians and policymakers cannot afford to be complacent. As the national unemployment figure falls we get ever-closer to the seven per cent figure which Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, has identified as being the point at which he will begin considering raising interest rates.
“While we concur with the general consensus that interest rates won’t rise until perhaps 2015, businesses need to know that the rates will be held low for as long as possible and when they do eventually rise that it will be in a managed manner.
“Shocks to the system, even the prospect of shocks, would risk undoing much of the good work businesses have done to secure this growth and support the economic recovery over the past 12 months.”