The UK’s economic recovery is likely to prove slow and protracted, but the country will avoid the threat of a ‘triple dip’ recession, according to a forecast from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).
The business group reported that strong exports bolstered the UK services sector in the first quarter of 2013 and its survey of more than 7,000 companies showed services exports came close to all-time highs reached in 1994.
“Fears of another recession are calmed by our results,” said David Kern, the BCC’s chief economist. But he added that the UK economy was still weak compared with long-term trends and the survey pointed towards a “slow and protracted upturn”.
The BCC’s quarterly index will show confidence among manufacturers and the service sector is at its highest level since before the start of the economic crisis in mid-2007.
“We’ve been observing a general picture of improving confidence for some time; most companies are saying, ‘it’s tough but we’re doing OK’,” said John Longworth, director general of the BCC. “Things are looking up – some of the [survey] figures are the best we’ve seen since 2007.” However, he called for the government to implement measures to stimulate economic growth.
“We should not be satisfied with a long and tortuous road to recovery,” he said. “These results provide a glimpse of the as-yet-distant sunlit uplands of recovery. Businesses up and down the country are working hard to drive the economy, create jobs and export, but they cannot accelerate this process alone.”
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