Relief for Warwickshire businesses as economy emerges from recession

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Companies across Coventry and Warwickshire will be relieved that the UK economy has come out of recession – but it won’t be a cause for celebration, according to business leaders.

The latest GDP figures, which measures economic growth, shows a rise of 0.6 per cent in the first quarter of 2024 after two consecutive quarters of decline at the end of 2023.

It means the UK economy has emerged quickly from a short, shallow recession but Corin Crane, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said there were still too many barriers facing firms across the region.

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He said: “I’m amazed on a daily basis by the incredible businesses we have in this region across a broad range of sectors and it’s testament to companies across our patch and, indeed, the rest of the country that we have come out of recession so quickly.

Corin CraneCorin Crane
Corin Crane

“There have been times in the not too distant past when the word ‘recession’ would have begun a self-fulfilling decline but we speak to businesses every single day and they know that a small rise or fall in GDP doesn’t change the fundamentals of the economy they are working in.

“So, I think it will be a relief to come out of the recession quickly because it’s in nobody’s interests for it to drag on for quarter after quarter, but it shouldn’t cover for the fact that there are still many barriers to doing business that are holding back growth.

“With a General Election around the corner we, as a Chamber of Commerce where every business belongs, will be making sure that every politician locally, regionally and nationally understands what those issues are and supports us in fixing them to help our brilliant businesses to grow.”

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David Bharier, Head of Research at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “Today’s Q1 GDP first estimate of 0.6 per cent, outstripping expectations, is a welcome sign that the UK has moved away from last year’s shallow recession. Businesses across the UK have been the driving force behind the recovery.

“Firms have shown resilience in the face of multiple headwinds and this estimate should give business and investor confidence a boost.

“However, significant challenges remain. The UK has seen waves of economic and political uncertainty in recent years, from inflation to skills shortages and trade barriers with the EU, which have weighed down on its growth potential. Our latest surveys show that most SMEs are still not increasing investment.

“With signals from the Bank that their next move will be an interest rate cut, it is now essential that policymakers show businesses a clear plan for growth to unlock their economic potential.”