Commenting on the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showing a 0.3% growth in UK GDP in January 2023, East Midlands Chamber director of policy and external affairs Chris Hobson said: “These figures once again demonstrate the great resilience of our businesses, which are gradually driving the economy forward despite the huge cost pressures they continue to face.
“Like we saw during the pandemic, many firms are able to adapt quickly to a tough trading environment to diversify their revenue streams and seek new opportunities, which is how we end up with innovative products and services.
“The picture painted by the ONS figures reflect the green shoots of recovery we detected at the end of last year. Our Quarterly Economic Survey for Q4 2022 showed a slight upturn in business confidence as capacity returned due to a gradual slowdown in demand and the policy environment stabilised following a year of flip-flopping.
“However, this optimism remains fragile as the cost-of-doing-business crisis has effectively wiped out margins and restricted investment.
“In next week’s Spring Budget, we need to see the Chancellor help in truly kickstarting the economy by a two-step plan.
“This means getting the basics right by removing the day-to-day barriers that exist for businesses, and then supporting ambition by rewarding those companies that want to invest in plant and machinery, skills and innovation.
“Only by doing this can we then achieve what has eluded us for too long and begin a period of meaningful, long-term economic growth.”
Find out what East Midlands Chamber wants to see in the Spring Budget here.