GDP preview

Thursday’s GDP figures will reveal whether the economic recovery is gathering pace, according to business leaders in Coventry and Warwickshire.

The UK economy grew by 0.3 per cent between January and March and the Office For National Statistics (ONS) will reveal on Thursday whether it grew again in the second quarter.

Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said evidence locally and nationally suggested that the economic recovery was beginning to take hold and hopes the GDP figures will confirm that.

She said: “Our most recent Quarterly Economic Surveys have showed confidence is returning among many businesses across our patch and the British Chambers of Commerce’s most recent survey said the national picture is the same.

“A great deal of attention will be placed on the GDP figures and if they show growth again in the second quarter of the year, it will be a further confidence boost for firms across Coventry and Warwickshire.

“The signs are there that we will grow for the second quarter running and that is certainly what our colleagues at the British Chambers of Commerce are anticipating.

“The service sector has been performing well and, certainly in this region, the manufacturing and engineering sector has been strengthened over the past few years.

“As a Chamber, we recognise that support is needed for businesses from every sector and that is why we offer a range of help and assistance to individuals who are just getting businesses off the ground to larger firms looking to expand.”

In the Chamber’s latest quarterly economic survey, 56 per cent of manufacturers were expecting turnover to rise in the next 12 months and 41 per cent of manufacturers across Coventry and Warwickshire were forecasting a rise in domestic orders in the next three months.

When it comes to overseas advanced orders, 56 per cent of manufacturing firms say they are up.

In the service sector, 68 per cent of firms were predicting a rise in turnover with advance orders both at home and abroad are up slightly.

On the home front, 48 per cent of service sector firms said advance sales were up and 72 per cent of companies said overseas orders were up.

Louise added: “Whatever happens on Thursday, we cannot become complacent or, indeed, panic should the figures reveal an unexpected decline.

“We have to continue the drive to create the best possible conditions for growth so our businesses can thrive and the economy can flourish.

“That is why, for example, we are working with UKTI, EEF and MAS, to help strengthen the manufacturing and engineering sector in Coventry and Warwickshire.

“That is why we support so many start-up and early stage businesses to help them expand.

“And that is why our international trade team offers a range of help and advice to assist firms in exporting their goods across the globe.”

She added: “The recognition that we needed to rebalance the economy towards exports and growing our manufacturing base was made a couple of years ago in Westminster but that was only the starting point. There is still some way to go before we really see it taking shape which will ultimately lead to sustained growth.”