Don't be weighed down by recession, Warwickshire firms told

Businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire should not be weighed down by the ‘r’ word – but it should act as a red alert to Government to help deliver long term economic growth.
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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 the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said the technical recession should not change businesses’ outlook.

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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 the Government.

Sean RoseSean Rose
Sean Rose

“Companies across Coventry and Warwickshire, 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.

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“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.”

Steve Harcourt, Director of Prime Accountants Group and President of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, added: “The Chamber’s final Quarterly Economic Survey of 2023 showed that firms in the region were coming into this year in a reasonably confident mood, but with a recognition that times are tough.

“We see every day the difficulties that companies have been facing – from rising costs through to higher interest rates – so it comes as no huge surprise that the economy dipped into recession.

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“With inflation coming down, the forecasts suggest that the economy will begin to grow again very quickly – but only very slightly – which is why we need a long-term plan for sustained growth.”

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 the Government.

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

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“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.”

To complete the latest Quarterly Economic Survey, click here