By Alan Briggs, Partner at HB Prime Advantage
The UK economy has avoided falling into a triple dip recession after recording unexpected growth in the first quarter of the year and is set to continue to grow as CBI predict UK GDP will increase in 2014.
Despite this positive forecast, many challenges still remain as the UK struggles to rebalance the economy. Entrepreneurs and the government need to focus on regional growth if the economy is to fully recover.
To get the UK moving it is important that every part of Britain grows. It is impractical for the Government to ignore pockets of private sector potential outside of London & the South East and the economic recovery will be aided by an equal focus on regional parts of the UK as well as bigger metropolitan areas.
The East Midlands is a key region to the Government’s stated objectives of re-balancing the economy away from the South East and came in just behind Yorkshire and Humber as having the fastest growth in business activity across the English regions. Holding a lot of potential to become one of the strongest and most resilient economic regions in the UK, it is important to focus in on significant growth sectors including manufacturing, construction, and food and drink.
Manufacturing is a crucial industry in the East Midlands and one that has taken a battering in recent years. However, positive statistics indicate that the UK manufacturing sector is on the steady rise and will continue to grow over the next few months.
The Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) barometer reported that a recent survey found that 64% of Manufacturers are expected to increase sales over the next six months, a promising picture. To help stimulate economic and enterprise activity in this industry an onus must be put on increasing productivity through innovation and sustainable business practice to create a good regional platform to build upon.
There are many invested bodies in place looking to improve the region and stimulate growth. Earlier this year local East Midlands councils put forward a new perspective called “Investing in Opportunity” urging the government to provide a greater slice of national funding and improve infrastructure in the area. It is now the Government’s turn to take more action by providing finance, cutting red tape and driving exports to maintain the momentum of the recovery in this region.
Potential exists but a call for action is needed if the East Midlands are to thrive. Recent data suggests rising business confidence but the economic climate remains tough. Attracting business to the region will boost both the East Midlands’ confidence and prosperity for the region’s economic future. The Government needs to ensure that the region gets its share of investment and infrastructure spend. It is time for the East Midlands to make its mark on a national and global level.
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