The BCC surveyed nearly 8,000 members and their findings suggest that the economy has significantly weakened; but stopped short of forecasting an outright recession. They believe that whilst one quarter of negative growth was likely over the next six-months, a recession hinged on the government’s action to help businesses.
John Longworth, the BCC’s director general, said: “Britain's economy is at a critical stage – and now is not the time to shy away from the radical decisions needed to inspire confidence and increased investment for years to come.
“The results of our latest survey are a cause for concern and point towards stagnation in the first quarter of this year. Many of the balances are now at levels last seen in the third quarter of 2009, meaning improvements seen in the last two years have largely been cancelled out.
“Ministers need to move faster on promises made in the Chancellor's Autumn Statement. Measures to improve the flow of credit to businesses, reforms of our complex planning system, and investment in infrastructure projects are all needed now."
The British Chamber of Commerce’s forecast is almost identical to the view of the Bank of England and other economists, with the latest data from the retail, property and manufacturing sectors doing little to dispel this view.
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