'UK is now at serious risk of recession'

British Chamber of Commerce sends warning to Government about economic situation
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The UK economy is at serious risk of recession. That was the message the British Chamber of Commerce delivered to Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling this morning after a survey of 5,000 businesses showed that the economic situation had taken a serious turn for the worst.

Warning that the UK is now only one quarter away from a technical recession, the body said that both manufacturing and services recorded negative growth in the critical home balance sheet for sales and orders.

Worryingly, the service industry – which has proved the economic backbone of the economy for the past 20 years – is being hit harder than manufacturing citing poor home sales and orders, employment expectations and confidence balances.

Speaking about the findings, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, David Frost said: "These results show a real risk of recession in the coming months. This is obviously deeply worrying, not just for businesses, but for the consumer too, with both manufacturing and services reporting negative results."

In a warning to the Brown and Darling, he added: "The temptation for Government to raise business taxes in the PBR (pre-budge report) because the exchequer is running out of money. This would be a catastrophe.

"I am sending Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown a strong message from the businesses I meet every day, up and down the country: to put more pressure on business would not only restrict growth and hit the consumer hard, it would further crush what the economy is based on – confidence."

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