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11 Nov 2022

Downbeat economic outlook reflects East Midlands picture, says Chamber – but Government can help by ‘getting the basics right’

Commenting on the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showing UK GDP contracted by 0.2% in Q3 2022 and by 0.6% in September, East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire) chief executive Scott Knowles said: “These figures solidify the picture that the economy is struggling to gather enough momentum to head off the recession predicted by the Bank of England.

“Worryingly, the figures show a decline across all 13 manufacturing sectors tracked by the ONS, with production output overall shrinking by 1.5%. Services as a whole have experienced no growth in the quarter.

“In the East Midlands, our Quarterly Economic Survey shows business confidence during the same Q3 period dropped significantly, with optimism over future profitability and turnover improvements down by 21% and 17% respectively compared to the previous three months.

“Cost pressures from energy, people and raw materials have affected growth over the past year, but what is most striking now is that demand – which had been strong ever since pandemic restrictions eased – is now falling as the cost-of-living and cost-of-doing-businesses crises bite hard.

“While the Chancellor will understandably prioritise how we reassure the financial markets in next week’s Autumn Statement after the recent self-inflicted turmoil, it’s vital he doesn’t forget the very pressing needs of businesses, which will ultimately drive the economy forward again.

“Businesses need to see a long-term economic plan that invests in people, skills and infrastructure, as well as radically improves our trading relationships with key markets, not least in Europe.

“In other words, this is about ‘getting the basics right’ – something the Chamber will be pressing Government to do when we launch our Business Manifesto for Growth in Westminster later this month.”