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Economy continues to skirt recession 

GDP grew by 0.1% in the three months to April 2023 when compared with the three months to January 2023, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The ONS said strong trade in bars and pubs boosted growth but added the construction sector had faltered as rising interest rates and mortgage costs made house buyers more cautious.

David Bharier, Head of Research at the BCC, said: “The GDP figure of 0.1% growth for the three months to April further indicates the UK economy is trapped on a low-growth trajectory.

“Our own forecast expects 0.3% growth for the whole of 2023 as our research continues to show that most SMEs are still holding back on their investment plans. 

“Our forecast also expects a 4.7% decline in exports this year. Further upcoming changes on trade with the EU, such as new reporting requirements and import charges, will also add more pressure to exporters, many of whom have seen diminished activity due to mounting trade barriers. 

“Following three years of economic shocks, a stronger investment environment could be created by easing the tightness in the labour market, tackling stubbornly high inflation and significantly improving our trading relationships.” 

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