Essentially we are officially out of recession, albeit by the skin of our teeth, and that is a cause for some minor celebration at least. Does it mean that we are completely out of the woods? No, of course not, growth of 0.1% is hardly a resounding indicator of better things to come and of course there will be many challenges ahead. Nonetheless, as someone once said, “growth is growth”.
The next big challenge will come from how the Government intends to repay the enormous levels of public debt. At present we do not know how much public expenditure will be cut by and as a consequence we cannot properly estimate the level of impact it will have. In truth we won’t know until this elongated General Election campaign is concluded.
What we can say is that although Hertfordshire businesses have encountered significant challenges in the previous couple of years they have generally demonstrated high levels of resilience, and will be in a good position to take advantage when consistent growth and confidence returns.
My verdict? Although very small, we should welcome the announcement of growth in the economy and look upon it as a stepping stone to better things. It is important that we recognise that at this level growth is fragile and that great care must be taken to protect it; interest rates must be kept down; any further temptation to add to the legislative load businesses are facing must be resisted; and reversing the proposed rises in National Insurance must be a priority.