More challenges ahead as country comes out of recession

OFFICIALLY the recession is over – well just. But one of the county s top business gurus says it is too early to rejoice and the road ahead could be littered with painful pitfalls and disappointments. The Office of National Statistics announced last Tuesd

OFFICIALLY the recession is over - well just. But one of the county's top business gurus says it is too early to rejoice and the road ahead could be littered with painful pitfalls and disappointments.

The Office of National Statistics announced last Tuesday that the UK economy grew by 0.1 per cent over the last quarter, to December, 2009.

Many companies will still be feeling the pinch of the long downturn for many more months to come and recovery will be slow.

Tim Hutchings, chief executive of Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has given a forthright assessment of how industry must approach the end of the recession and tread very carefully.


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"The announcement that the UK economy grew by 0.1 per cent in the last quarter is, although not a prompt for singing and dancing in the streets, very welcome," said Mr Hutchings.

"Essentially we are officially out of recession, albeit by the skin of our teeth, and that is a cause for some minor celebration at least. Does it mean that we are completely out of the woods? No, of course not. Growth of 0.1 per cent is hardly a resounding indicator of better things to come and, of course, there will be many challenges ahead. Nonetheless, as someone once said, "growth is growth".

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"The next big challenge will come from how the Government intends to repay the enormous levels of public debt. At present we do not know how much public expenditure will be cut by and as a consequence we cannot properly estimate the level of impact it will have. In truth we won't know until this elongated General Election campaign is concluded.

"What we can say is that although Hertfordshire businesses have encountered significant challenges in the previous couple of years they have generally demonstrated high levels of resilience, and will be in a good position to take advantage when consistent growth and confidence returns.

"What is my verdict? Although very small, we should welcome the announcement of growth in the economy and look upon it as a stepping stone to better things.

"It is important that we recognise that at this level growth is fragile and that great care must be taken to protect it, interest rates must be kept down, any further temptation to add to the legislative load businesses are facing must be resisted; and reversing the proposed rises in National Insurance must be a priority."

* Is the Recession and credit crunch still affecting you or your business? If it is contact Bob Bryant on 01438 866206 or email him at bob.bryant@thecomet.net

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