Commenting on the preliminary GDP figures for the third quarter of 2008, published today by the ONS, David Kern, Economic Adviser to the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

"The third quarter fall in GDP was worse than expected. As envisaged by the BCC's recent quarterly economic survey, all areas of the economy recorded declines. But, the declines in services and construction were even larger than most analysts predicted.

"The economic outlook is serious. While it is important not to talk ourselves into a slump, urgent steps are needed to alleviate the worst consequences.

"Interest rates will have to be cut without delay to 4 per cent in November, and to 3.50 per cent shortly afterwards. Business taxes will have to be cut in the Pre-Budget Report, and the government will have to insist that the vital flow of bank finance to small firms is maintained.”