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Business reacts to UK economic growth figures


Business groups have given their reactions to the latest economic figures, with the Forum of Private Business (FPB) calling for a ‘two-pronged’ approach to boost economic growth.


The FPB said it believes Britain needs to see two main measures in order to foster a meaningful economic recovery – swift business-friendly policies from the Government, and an increase in business and consumer confidence.


Its comments follow the publication of new data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) which revealed that UK GDP grew by 0.5% in the first three months of 2011.


The rebound reverses the 0.5% fall recorded in the last quarter of 2010, which experts say was caused by heavy snow.


While the latest rise in GDP was welcomed, it is below the 0.8% previously predicted by the Office for Budget Responsibility.


‘An increase of 0.5% is as good as we might have hoped for and it's reassuring to know we haven't returned to recession,’ said FPB Chief Executive, Phil Orford. ‘However, it doesn't indicate any great surge of economic activity, and it won't dramatically increase confidence in the small business sector.


‘If we want to see some real growth next quarter, we need some radical and immediate measures from the Government which will tangibly improve conditions for smaller businesses on the ground.’


Meanwhile, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said the country was seeing a ‘modest rebound’ in economic growth, reaffirming its view that the ‘recovery remains slow and sluggish’.


Commenting on what he described as ‘mediocre’ growth figures, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce ( BCC ) said: ‘Given the fragility of the recovery, it is vital for the Government to persevere with policies that support growth, and remove the obstacles that prevent businesses from creating jobs and exporting’.