By Daniel Hunter

John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), has said that Moody's downgrade of the UK's AAA credit rating puts pressure on the Chancellor ahead of the Budget.

"The latest downgrade by Moody's has not come as much of a surprise," he said.

"We have been predicting for quite some time that the UK's credit rating would be downgraded if growth is not achieved, while emphasising that growth is just as important as deficit reduction. We must now wait to see how the markets react.

"However, the ratings are backwards looking and reflect a sluggish economic performance. The fact that the ratings spell has been broken allows the Chancellor to be braver on growth, provided the growth stimulus sought reflects market sentiment.

"The Prime Minister and the Chancellor will have to look into more radical measures in the next six months, to stimulate exports, generate infrastructure development and create a business finance environment which favours enterprise and growth.

"We cannot simply hope for better times. Hope is not a strategy. So far, the implementation of growth measures by the government has been at the pace of coastal erosion. Urgent action is needed in the Budget next month to get the economy moving again, and any lacklustre performance will not be acceptable."

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