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Recession avoided but tough year ahead

Reacting to the ONS GDP figures for Q4 2022, David Bharier, Head of Research at the BCC, said:

“Today’s GDP estimates, while indicating the economy technically avoided a recession, show some worrying developments. Production output fell by 0.2% in Q4 2022, eight of the 14 service sectors saw contractions, and monthly GDP fell by 0.5% in December.

“Small businesses have seen three years of economic shocks, including lockdowns, global supply chain crises, Brexit, and soaring energy costs.

“Our research has shown that most small firms have seen no improvements to sales, exports, or investment. Retailers and hospitality firms are among the worst affected by this current anaemic economy.

“There is some relief ahead in falling energy prices and with the potential peak in inflation. But firms face other headwinds, including continuing strike action and further uncertainty around our trading relationship with Europe.

“Businesses will need to see a long-term plan for growth and concrete action in the upcoming Budget, including plans on infrastructure, tax, skills, and trade.”