Regions' business leaders cautiously welcome 'mixed picture' growth figures - The Rugby Observer

Regions' business leaders cautiously welcome 'mixed picture' growth figures

Rugby Editorial 13th Aug, 2023   0

BUSINESS leaders in Coventry and Warwickshire have welcomed the latest economic growth figures – but say it is still a very mixed picture.

GDP – the measure of economic activity – grew by 0.2 per cent in the second quarter of 2023.

Corin Crane, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said the growth showed how resilient businesses had been despite the challenges of recent years.

He said: “I see it every single day when I go to meet amazing companies in Coventry and Warwickshire doing incredible things.

“It’s a relief that we have, up to now, avoided a recession that many were forecasting.

“But that doesn’t mean that we are out of the woods because it’s still a very mixed picture.”

He said challenges around recruitment and skills still remained, overseas trade was low, inflation was too high, and interest rates had increased rapidly in recent months.

“For businesses and the economy to truly flourish, it needs some of those fundamentals to be fixed.”

David Bharier, Head of Research at the British Chambers of Commerce, added: “Most SMEs continue to report no improvement to investment, cash flow, or sales. Worryingly, 41 per cent of businesses are now concerned about the impact of rising interest rates.

“UK businesses are very adaptable, but they are looking for clear direction from the government and the Bank of England, particularly on interest rate policy and a long-term plan to unlock investment.”

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