A leading local business figure believes the East Midlands will play a major part in pushing forward the UK economy in the next 12 months.
George Cowcher, Chief Executive of the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Chamber of Commerce, was speaking after more positive UK growth forecasts were released.
The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has upgraded its GDP growth forecasts for this year and next year – from 3.1 per cent to 3.2 per cent in 2014 and from 2.7 per cent to 2.8 per cent in 2015.
With expected growth of 3.2 per cent, 2014 will be the first year since 2007 that growth will have exceeded three per cent.
Mr Cowcher said: “It’s encouraging to see that the BCC has upgraded its forecast for the UK economy in the year ahead and I believe the East Midlands will play a major part in driving the country’s economic growth over the next 12 months.
“A year ago, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney described the region as a ‘bellwether for the UK economy’. It has since seen the highest rate of growth in the UK and has moved from being a bellwether to a national trend-setter.
“The region benefits from a well-balanced economy, with real strengths in manufacturing and engineering; the service sector; and science and technology.
“The key now is to make sure that we don’t do anything that will damage that growth, such as increasing interest rates too early or otherwise reducing business confidence.
“Government money allocated for business investment through various growth funds must be released to businesses and we must continue to drive exports to ensure we increase our balance of trade, which is something the chamber and its partners are driving.
“Chamber members have demonstrated their commitment to growth. What they now need to see is government policy start to really make a difference on the ground.”