Commenting on the first estimate of GDP for the third quarter of 2016, published today by the ONS, Mike Spicer, Director of Economics at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said:
“We welcome the news that the UK economy continued to grow into the third quarter. At 0.5% the first estimate for Q3 is down slightly on the quarter, but still greater than many had expected. These figures echo the overall message from our Quarterly Economic Survey, which indicated continued growth but at a slower pace than before the EU referendum.
“Although many manufacturers saw a bounce this summer, in part from the lower exchange rate, this was not enough to prevent a contraction in industrial output overall. Many have found themselves on the wrong side of currency movements – facing increased costs for imported components.
“Boosting business confidence must be a key task for government in the months ahead. The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement is a crucial opportunity to incentivise business investment and overseas trade. Expanding the scope of investment allowances, bringing forward changes to local taxation and increasing spend on trade promotion will go a long way to underpinning confidence.
“The Prime Minister has given businesses some clarity on the timetable for Article 50, and on short-term regulatory and legal issues. This is helpful, but needs to be followed up by a firm demonstration that the government has a clear and coherent strategy to defend the UK’s economic and business interests in the negotiations that lie ahead.”