British Chambers of Commerce calls for more measures to boost the country's economic growth

Gloomy predictions for the UK economy are unfounded, but more measures are needed to boost growth, according to the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).

The BCC, which represents 104,000 business members, said it did not agree with the Office for National Statistics that the UK was in technical recession for three quarters but said any improvements in the figures were still "inadequate".

The BCC's quarterly economic survey, covering 7,593 businesses across the UK, revealed that economic growth in the country remains weak as sales at home and overseas stagnate.

However, there is some positive news, as the BCC expects gross domestic product between July and September to have grown 0.5% after three consecutive quarters of declining output.

David Kern, the BCC's chief economist, said: "The job of repairing Britain's public finances will take longer to complete than initially planned. But, if the Chancellor demonstrates firm commitment to a credible fiscal plan, additional spending policies aimed at creating growth will help preserve market credibility."

The survey showed declining confidence and investment levels from both manufacturing and services firms, with fewer businesses looking to invest in training and machinery. Confidence in future turnover and profit has fallen to levels last seen at the end of 2011.

Balances for export activity remain positive, indicating growth, although the third quarter saw levels drop to a similar level as the end of 2011. Domestic orders are also weak, with survey balances falling on the previous quarter in both manufacturing and services.

To boost growth the BCC has proposed a 'Growth Vouche' scheme, offering 20,000 small businesses 5,000 worth of advice to jump-start investment and expansion plans.

It also urged George Osborne to consider other measures to move Britain towards a new model economy, such as implementing plans to create a British Business Bank, as well as proposals to unlock infrastructure investment.

John Longworth, BCC director general, said: "Economic growth is weak and businesses are less confident and less likely to invest than they were at the beginning of the year. The BCC's survey results should be a clear signal to Government that more needs to be done to stimulate growth alongside continued deficit reduction."

Copyright Press Association 2012