Hertfordshire celebrates end of UK recession

IT’S official: the recession is over.

It was announced this morning (Tuesday) that the UK economy grew by 0.1 per cent over the last three months of 2009 – the first time it had done so since the first quarter of 2008.

And the news has been welcomed, albeit cautiously, by businessmen in Hertfordshire.

Tim Hutchings, the chief executive of the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Although very small, we should welcome the announcement of growth in the economy and look upon it as a stepping stone to better things,”

“It is important that we recognise that at this level growth is fragile and that great care must be taken to protect it; interest rates must be kept down; any further temptation to add to the legislative load businesses are facing must be resisted, and reversing proposed rises in National Insurance must be a priority.”

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Mr Hutchings’ comments were echoed by those of Peter Brooks, chairman of the Welwyn Hatfield Chamber of Commerce and manager of the Howard Centre in WGC.

“It’s obviously good news because it helps put confidence back into the economy, but it depends very much on what part of the economy you work in,” Mr Brooks said.

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“From the perspective of our own shopping centre, we had a very good Christmas and there was a feel-good factor here following that.

“But although superficially sales results have been good, that has been arrived at by people working shorter hours or losing their jobs. I think it’s going to be some time before we can start celebrating and say we’re truly out of the woods.”

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