Businesses in Northamptonshire and Milton Keynes should not be burdened with the recession announcement

Businesses in Northamptonshire and Milton Keynes should not be burdened with the recession announcement  – but this should act as a red alert to the Government to help deliver long-term economic growth.

The UK entered recession as the ONS confirmed that the economy contracted by 0.3 per cent in the final quarter of 2023, on the back of a 0.1 per cent fall in the previous quarter.

Sean Rose, Head of Policy at Northamptonshire and Milton Keynes Chambers of Commerce, said the technical recession should not change businesses’ outlook.

He said: “Businesses have been in no doubt that the economy has been flat for some time but entering a technical recession will act as a red alert to Government.

“Companies across Northamptonshire and Milton Keynes, however, should not be weighed down by the term as it makes no difference to the way they do business on a day-to-day basis. It just confirms what they already know – that things are tough.

“Just as a marginal rise would not be a cause for celebration, this shouldn’t change businesses’ plans or their outlook as they move forward.

“We’ve seen inflation fall back sharply from its peak and the labour market has remained robust – although not without challenge – as we have seen from other figures released this week.

“We would always urge businesses to reach out to us for support with plans to grow and this news doesn’t change that.

“However, we’d urge the Chancellor and the Government to use the forthcoming Budget to set out a long-term economic plan to help drive growth, to accelerate planning and employment land projects and to encourage sustainable investment.”

Alex Veitch, Director of Policy and Insight at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “A contraction in GDP for the final quarter of 2023 means the UK economy is in technical recession.

“Businesses were already under no illusion about the difficulties they face, and this news will no doubt ring alarm bells for Government.

“The BCC’s last Quarterly Economic Forecast suggests annual growth below 1.0% for the next two years as firms remained gripped by uncertainty and the twin perils of high inflation and interest rates remain.

“The Chancellor must use his Budget in just under three weeks’ time to set out a clear pathway for firms and the economy to grow.

“Businesses are crying out for a long-term economic plan that reduces the cost pressures they are facing and unlocks the investment they so sorely need.”

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