The latest figures published by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) on 28 April show that the UK economy grew by 0.8% in the first quarter of 2014. This marks the fifth consecutive period of GDP growth and the longest positive run since the financial crisis began.
Year on year growth has strengthened by 3.1% and all the main sectors expanded in Q1 2014, services by 0.9%, production by 0.8% and construction by 0.3%.
The local Chambers of Commerce have reported that this is also reflected in West Country businesses order books.
Phil Smith Managing Director of Business West said: “The latest GDP figures confirm that the recovery is on a firm footing and UK businesses are reaping the benefits. This growth is reflected in our local economy too as companies have told us in our latest quarterly survey which indicates that the market remains upbeat at the start of this year after a positive 2013. Respondents reported increases in both UK sales (54%) and orders (50%). Export sales (41%) and orders (40%) also increased on the quarter and the year, showing that while the UK economy recovers, international markets offer expansion opportunities.
“These government stats support the message we are picking up from our member companies across Bristol, Bath, Gloucestershire, Swindon & Wiltshire, many of whom are busier than they have been for five years and increasingly confident in their prospects.”
Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce that run Swindon Chamber also echoed this feeling of positivity. “We can report that Thames Valley members’ order books including those in Swindon, have continued to increase for the first quarter of 2014 – along with advanced orders. Current export orders dominate the landscape and lead the way – with 100 per cent of respondents saying that bookings had increased. Employment remains resilient with businesses seeking full time staff for professional and managerial roles. Turnover and profitability improved: this showcases business confidence” said Ginette Gower Head of Communications at Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce.