By Marcus Leach

David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), believes that today's data, that shows the UK economy has slipped back into recession, paints an unduly pessimistic view of the economy.

According to data released by the Office for National Statistics the economy contracted by 0.2% in the opening quarter of 2012. Coupled with a 0.3% contraction in the final quarter of 2011, the economy has slipped into a technical recession.

“The latest ONS data shows a fall in GDP of 0.2% in the first quarter of 2012, pushing the economy into technical recession," Kern said.

"The figure is disappointing, and paints an unduly pessimistic picture of the state of the economy. Many commentators will question the accuracy of the data, particularly as it is based on only 40% of the information used for these estimates.

"As well as large falls in the construction sector, the estimate by the ONS that service sector output rose by only 0.1% on the quarter will be seen as too low by most analysts.

“Business surveys, including the BCC’s Quarterly Economic Survey, have shown a more positive picture, and we believe these give a more accurate indication of the underlying trends in the economy.

"We (the BCC) think it is likely that the preliminary estimate will be revised upwards when more information is available. For the time being, the main priority is to minimise any possible damage to business confidence. These figures are at odds with the experiences of many UK businesses, which continue to operate with guarded optimism.

“But it is clear that economic growth in the UK remains much too low. We need to see a reallocation of priorities within Plan A that will bolster business growth. That means reducing regulation, encouraging exports and improving infrastructure. While the government must persevere with plans to reduce the deficit despite these figures, it must introduce more measures to empower businesses to drive recovery.”

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