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Norfolk businesses more positive than the rest of the country as chamber calls for boost to the economy

PUBLISHED: 09:33 02 October 2012

Caroline Williams, chief executive, at the Chamber of Trade's B2B networking event at Carrow Road.  Photo: Bill Smith

Caroline Williams, chief executive, at the Chamber of Trade's B2B networking event at Carrow Road. Photo: Bill Smith

Archant © 2011

More needs to be done to boost economic growth, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) is warning today as the job of repairing British finances will take longer to complete than initially hoped.

The BCC’s quarterly economic survey, covering 7,593 businesses across Britain, revealed that economic growth in Britain remains weak as sales at home and overseas stagnate.

The BCC, which represents 104,000 business members, expects gross domestic product between July and September to grow 0.5pc after three consecutive quarters of declining output.

However in Norfolk both the manufacturing and service sectors are showing positive results around future export orders, although overall there has been a dip in confidence on profitability and there was a fall in export sales in the last quarter. Firms also reported that they were less confident about taking on more staff.

However in Norfolk despite a fall in the number of companies looking to recruit, the drop was far lower than the national figures and the overall outlook is more positive than national levels.

The findings come as hopes of an imminent rebound in the manufacturing sector were dashed because the crisis in the eurozone continued to hit orders.

The latest Markit/CIPS purchasing managers’ index (PMI) produced a headline reading of 48.4 for September, below the 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction and down on the improved trend of 49.6 seen a month earlier. Cost pressures also surged in September, reflecting rising oil and agricultural commodity prices in particular.

Caroline Williams, CEO of Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, said: “Despite the backdrop of the national results of weak economic growth and poor business confidence it is encouraging that Norfolk businesses report that in some areas they are doing better than the national figures.”

John Longworth, BCC director general, urged the chancellor to press ahead with implementing plans for a new British Business Bank as well as proposals to unlock infrastructure investment.

“Economic growth is weak and businesses are less confident and less likely to invest than they were at the beginning of the year,” he said. “The BCC’s survey results should be a clear signal to government that more needs to be done to stimulate growth alongside continued deficit reduction.”

shaun.lowthorpe@ archant.co.uk

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