Business

UK economy set to strengthen this year, BCC says

Mini plant, Oxford

The UK's economic recovery is set to gather momentum this year, according to the latest quarterly survey by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).

The BCC says its survey of almost 8,000 businesses showed that key indicators for the economy are higher than before the financial crisis hit in 2007.

In the manufacturing sector five indicators, including orders and employment, are at all-time highs.

But the BCC says companies need access to financing to keep growing.

John Longworth, director general of the BCC said: "It is a fantastic to start the New Year with a very positive quarterly survey. Firms across the board believe they can create jobs, invest, and export.

"It is especially pleasing that the spurt in manufacturing has proven not to be a fluke. But businesses have major ambitions, and to be able to meet them, more support must be provided," he said.

Based on its survey the BCC expects economic growth of 0.9% in the fourth quarter and its chief economist David Kern says that "higher full-year growth in 2013 and 2014 could follow".

Many economists were surprised by the strength of the UK's economic recovery in 2013.

Last month, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) raised its forecast for 2013 growth to 1.4% from the 0.6% it had predicted in March.

This year the OBR expects growth of 2.4%.

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