Vince Cable: “The UK is recovering from a heart attack”
The UK economy is recovering from a 'heart attack' - but small businesses in counties like Norfolk will help lead the country out of the economic doldrums.
That was the message from Business Secretary Vince Cable this morning to a major conference in Norwich on the theme of 'unlocking growth'.
In his keynote speech to the conference at the Open venue in Bank Plain, Mr Cable said that effect of the financial crisis in 2008-9 were still being felt. But he said future growth of the UK economy would not be centred around London and the City's financial services if that growth was to be sustainable.
Mr Cable said that small businesses in Norfolk and counties like Cornwall and Yorkshire would lead the way in creating new jobs and new industries.
He hailed Norfolk's traditional strengths in agriculture and tourism, but added that he had been struck by clusters of innovation in Norfolk around the biosciences, advanced engineering, offshore renewable energy and the creative industries.
Earlier the conference, organised by Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, heard from Martyn Pellew, president of the British Chambers of Commerce - who said that business confidence was higher than generally believed, despite the euro crisis.
Asked for a show of hands, a clear majority of the 200+ audience of business leaders at the conference indicated that they were optimistic about the prospects for their own companies in 2012.
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But there was also a warning from Mr Pellew that there was a 'timebomb' ahead in April next year - a 5.6% rise in Business Rates. He urged companies to campaign against the rise.