Daily Mail

Recession fears fade as business bounces back

- By Hugo Duncan

BRITISH business is showing fresh signs of life with bosses hoping that ‘ the worst of the economy’s storms have passed’.

In a boost for the Chancellor ahead of next week’s Budget, the constructi­on industry clocked up its fastest rate of growth for nine months, and sales of new cars rose for a seventh month in row.

A third report showed retail sales holding up strongly.

The triple dose of good news will ease fears that the UK is heading for a prolonged recession as soaring prices and rising interest rates take their toll.

But concerns are mounting over Jeremy Hunt’s proposal to raise corporatio­n tax from 19pc to 25pc next month while also bringing a generous tax break on investment to an end.

Entreprene­ur Sir James Dyson has written to Hunt to voice his concerns about the two ‘tax grabs’.

He wrote: ‘The Government has done nothing but pile tax upon tax on to British companies.’ The warning came as S&P Global said its index of activity in the constructi­on sector jumped from 48.4 in January to 54.6 in February.

That was the highest level since may last year and back above the 50 mark that separates growth and decline.

Tim moore, economics director at S&P Global, said that while housebuild­ing remained weak the commercial property sector bounced back.

‘Some firms noted that fading recession fears and an improving global economic outlook had boosted client confidence in the commercial segment,’ he said.

max Jones, a director in Lloyds Bank’s infrastruc­ture and constructi­on team, said: ‘A return to growth will be welcomed by contractor­s, who are hoping the worst of the economy’s storms have passed.’

A separate report by the Society of motor manufactur­ers and Traders showed 74,441 new cars were registered last month – up 26.2pc on February 2022 and the seventh month of growth in a row.

Its chief executive, mike Hawes, said: ‘After seven months of growth, it is no surprise that the UK automotive sector is facing the future with growing confidence.

‘ It is vital, however, that Government takes every opportunit­y to back the market, which plays a significan­t role in Britain’s economy and net zero ambition.

‘The upcoming Budget must deliver measures that drive this transition, increasing affordabil­ity and ease of charging for all.’

And a report by the British Retail Consortium showed that retail sales rose by 5.2pc last month as consumers splashed out despite the rising cost of living.

‘Worst of economy’s storms have passed’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom