Commenting on the manufacturing output figures for February, published today by the ONS, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:  

“These figures were disappointing and worse than expected. Manufacturing was flat over the month while wider industrial production showed a decline. The data supports our assessment that although the UK economy has returned to positive growth in the first quarter of 2011, the recovery is still fragile and faces many obstacles over the coming months.   

“British business accepts the need to persevere with the deficit-cutting programme which aims to stabilise our public finances. But in order to succeed, everything must be done to enable the private sector to drive the recovery, export and create new jobs.  

“The Government must take action and implement a strategy to enhance and support growth. On its part, the MPC should postpone interest rate increases until the recovery is more secure.”