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Disappointing GDP figures highlight ‘need for growth Budget’


Business groups have called for the upcoming Budget to focus on growth following the release of worse than expected GDP figures.


The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has urged the Government to take ‘pro-growth steps’ and deliver a Budget which ‘boosts business confidence’.


It came as the Office for National Statistics revealed that the UK economy shrank by 0.6% in the last quarter of 2010. Initial estimates had put the figure at 0.5%.


‘Business is not seeking hand-outs but needs the Government to create a climate in which they can grow,’ said the BCC’s Director General, David Frost. ‘That means less not more employment legislation, a greater focus on boosting British exports and keeping pressure on the banks to ensure that businesses can access finance.’


‘If the Government provides a radical framework, business will do what it does best – creating wealth and jobs, innovating to deliver strong companies and providing the much needed growth for this country.’


Meanwhile, the manufacturers' organisation the EEF has called on ministers to set out a Growth Mandate to ‘dismantle the barriers to growth’ and boost private sector activity.


‘Last year's Emergency Budget was about sorting out the public finances, this one needs to be about generating stronger economic growth underpinned by investment, innovation and exports,’ commented the EEF’s director of policy, Steve Radley.


In its Budget submission to the Chancellor, the EEF focuses on four areas – tax, access to finance, skills issues and regulation. However, it claims that the Government's priorities should be investment and environmental taxes, with the capital allowances regime a key area of focus.


Chancellor George Osborne will present the 2011 Budget on 23 March.