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12th January 2024

Economic growth remains fragile

The ONS’ latest GDP data reveals that the economy grew by 0.3% in November but fell by 0.2% in the three months to November.

Paul Butterworth, CEO at Chambers Wales South East, South West and Mid, said:

“While the 0.3% GDP increase in November is a positive step in the right direction in isolation, the wider picture indicates how fragile the economy is at the moment. A fall of 0.2% in the three months to November, which followed no growth at all in the three months to October, suggests that the UK economy is still stuck in a low growth cycle.

“In Wales, growth lies in the hands of our agile and innovative private businesses, but they need economic certainty to have the confidence to invest in training and equipment in order to boost long-term growth and prosperity. In Q4 of 2023, only 16% of businesses increased their investment in training and 23% increased their investment in plant and machinery or equipment according to our Quarterly Economic Survey.

“Businesses will be looking to the government and other politicians to make growth a priority in the upcoming Spring Statement and general election campaigning.”

Alex Veitch, Director of Policy and Insight at the British Chambers of Commerce, said:

“Today’s ONS data, showing GDP grew 0.3% in November, but fell 0.2% in the three months to then, indicates how fragile UK economic growth is right now.

“It’s likely the economy will be stuck in the slow lane for the foreseeable future. Our latest Quarterly Economic Forecast expects growth below 1.0% for the next two years.

“The Chancellor’s decision to make full expensing permanent was welcome, but more needs to be done to help businesses invest and drive economic growth. Despite the headline rate of inflation easing, firms are continuing to battle with high interest rates, recruitment difficulties, and tough international trading conditions.

“Businesses are crying out for a long-term economic plan that prioritises growth. In the upcoming budget, and the election campaign to come, that must be the priority for all politicians.”

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