Trade leader remains optimistic despite recession news

THE chief executive of the county’s chamber of trade says the news the country is back in a recession does not tally with the position locally.

It was announced today that the UK economy has returned to recession after a second consecutive quarter of contraction.

Northamptonshire Chamber chief executive Paul Griffiths said: “The data released today by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) shows a fall in GDP of 0.2 per cent in the first quarter of 2012, pushing the economy into technical recession, following a shrink by 0.3 per cent in the final quarter of 2011.

“This is disappointing and paints an unduly pessimistic picture of the state of the economy. It is also contrary to what we have been hearing from the Northamptonshire companies in our membership. National business surveys, and our own local Quarterly Economic Survey, have shown a more positive picture, and I believe these give a more accurate indication of the underlying trends in the economy.

“Today’s figures are based on only 40 per cent of the information used for these estimates. As well as large falls in the construction sector, the estimate by the ONS that service sector output rose by only 0.1 per cent on the quarter will be seen as too low by most analysts. I believe that it is likely that the preliminary estimate will be revised upwards when more information is available. For the time being, the main priority is to minimise any possible damage to business confidence.”