Chamber Responds to ONS GDP Figures

Commenting on the latest ONS figures released today showing the UK economy grew by over 15% for the period July to September Chris Fletcher, Director of Policy & Communications at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, said: “These figures confirm what our own research had shown that, in the third quarter, there was indeed an upturn in the economy following the huge downturn in Q2 caused by lockdown shock.

“Whilst these figures show record growth it’s important to note that they are starting from historically low levels of economic activity with underlying weaknesses across many sectors. These were effectively masked in the third quarter by the loosening of restrictions from the first lockdown, as retail re-opened and boosts to the economy such as ‘Eat out to help out’ started.

“Our current research and survey data show that, since October, with the continued measures in Greater Manchester coupled with the tightening of restrictions around Tier 3 and the start of the latest lockdown measures, many businesses are once again reporting drops in sales, demand and confidence. Whilst this isn’t as drastic as April it will act as a brake on growth and investment. This is only to be expected as we see a series of stop/start measures taking place to battle the virus. Hopefully the news of a successful vaccine and a truly effective test and trace system coupled with the right support for business will see a gradual normalisation come back to life and the economy and these peaks and troughs will flatten out into more consistent growth.”