'Good news - but we're not out the dark yet'
BUSINESS leaders in Wales have given Britain's return to growth a cautious welcome.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has confirmed the UK's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 1 per cent from July to September, bringing the recession officially to an end.
The increase was the strongest quarterly growth since 2007 and largely driven by the service sector.
Janet Jones, Welsh Policy Unit Chair for the Federation of Small Businesses, said: "The economy is going in the right direction, but there is still a long way to go.
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"Growth has flatlined in the past year, so the UK Government must use the Autumn Statement to sustain recovery.
"The Welsh Government, which is soon to get further borrowing powers and a degree of fiscal autonomy, must commit to developing its own evidence base on the state of the economy and the effectiveness of its interventions."
Bruce Roberts, secretary of Swansea Business Club, said: "Government may say that the new GDP prediction points in the right direction — and they are, indeed, encouraging — but I'll be more interested in seeing how the figures pan out over the next 12 months.
"Of course, I'm glad we have this element of bright news but we're not out of the dark yet."
The ONS confirmed sales of Olympic tickets increased GDP growth in the third quarter by 0.2 percentage points.
Robert Lloyd Griffiths, director of the Institute of Directors in Wales, said: "I'm encouraged by the bounce back in GDP growth — it's good news that comes on top of other positive news for Wales.
"This week we've had the Welsh and UK Governments agreeing that Wales could, in principle, have access to capital borrowing powers.
"The two elements together should help build confidence in all corners of the country.
"My feelings come with a note of caution, however, as I don't think the GDP prediction is enough to get the party poppers out."
David Russ, managing director of the South Wales Chamber of Commerce, said the number of entrepreneurs coming through its doors looking for advice on starting their own businesses increased by around 30 per cent last month.
He said: "Although caution is still necessary, and there is more work to be done, this announcement will hopefully encourage business owners to plan ahead for the new year with a renewed confidence, while reassuring international investors that Wales remains open and ready to do business."
Andrew Peters, director of Swansea-based chewing gum removal specialists Gum Blitzer, said: "Hopefully this economic upturn will see more businesses increasing the budgets for services such as ours, which in turn will help us as a business grow."