Commenting on the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showing there was zero growth in UK GDP in Q3 (July to September) 2023, East Midlands Chamber chief executive Scott Knowles said: “While the huge efforts of businesses to ward off the widely-forecast recession throughout this year by finding new ways to succeed should be celebrated, the sluggish growth reported in this data provides further evidence of the difficulties facing the UK economy, with the outlook across all sectors remaining uncertain.
“Our research is clear about the issues East Midlands businesses are up against. After three years of economic shocks, firms have significant concerns about high inflation and interest rates, while facing persistent skills shortages and trade barriers with the EU.
“Consequently, our Quarterly Economic Survey for this same Q3 period showed a dip in sales and advanced orders, recruitment prospects, and subdued investment intentions.
“The Government has a huge opportunity this month to provide a clear path ahead for growth in the Autumn Statement. This must set out a strategic vision and framework that focuses on what we call the ‘four Is’ – investment, innovation, infrastructure and international trade – in our regional economic blueprint, A Centre of Trading Excellence: A Business Manifesto for Growth in the East Midlands and Beyond.
“Delivering an ambitious plan for business would help firms do what they do best, which is to stimulate growth and create opportunities in their local areas.”