Opinion: Ian Larrard’s view on the latest GDP figures

By Anita Jaynes on 26 October, 2017

The latest data released by the Office for National Statistics, released on Wednesday 25 October,  found that in the three months to the end of September 2017:

  • UK GDP growth expanded by 0.4 percent
  • The year-on-year growth rate is 1.5 per cent, slightly ahead of forecasts

Commenting on the figures, Ian Larrard, Director of Swindon & Wiltshire Initiative at Business West, said: “It is positive news that GDP figures have come in slightly above forecast, but it is by no means a cause for celebration, such figures merely indicate that the UK economy remains locked onto a low growth trajectory.

“While the manufacturing sector was a bright spot in Q3, growth in services was sluggish and the construction sector remains a concern. Today’s announcement tallies broadly with findings from our Q3 local business survey insofar as the economy is doing better than expected. However, we are some way off the levels of growth required to maintain a vibrant national and regional economy.

“The Brexit negotiations and impact may continue. However, we must remember that despite all the political noise, businesses trade with other businesses, not governments. As a regional economy, Swindon & Wiltshire more than holds its own. However, there continue to be challenges and businesses will be waiting with baited breath on next month’s announcements from the Bank of England and the Chancellor respectively on interest rates and the Budget.

“But opportunities are being created for this region too. The weak pound helped see an uptick in manufacturing during Q3 and commentators predict that the visitor economy is set for record growth as we inch into 2018.

“If we continue to work together in this town to make it a great place to live, work, invest and do business, we can continue to thrive in the face of whichever economic storms come our way.”