Business leaders have welcomed the news that the UK economy is strengthening.
Gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 1.9 per cent in 2013 and has now recovered the lion’s share of output lost in the recession, according to the Office for National Statistics.
The pace of recovery slowed slightly in the fourth quarter of last year to 0.7 per cent but economists are predicting an annual improvement of up to 3 per cent for 2014.
ONS chief economic adviser Joe Grice said four-fifths of the decline in the economy during the downturn has now been recovered and that after four successive quarters of growth in 2013, it “does seem to be improving more consistently” now.
GDP remains 1.3 per cent off its pre-crisis peak at the start of 2008.
Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard said: “These figure represent the strongest growth since Labour crashed the economy in 2008 leading to the deepest recession in living memory.
“Labour predicted over three million unemployed and a triple dip recession, neither of these came true and quite the opposite we have more people in work than ever before, the strongest growth in Europe, and a prediction of overtaking Germany as Europe’s foremost economic power house.
“Of course there is still more to do but with the raising of the tax allowance to £10,000, freezing council tax, cutting fuel duty and raising the minimum wage, we are ensuring this is a recovery everyone will have a share in.”
But Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden said today’s economic news is no reason for celebration in Blackpool, saying the Tory-led Government continues to fail the town.
He said: “Of course today’s growth figures are welcomed and long overdue after three damaging years of flatlining; however, for many in Blackpool, there is no feeling of recovery.
“As the Gazette reported, the number of 19-year-olds not in training and education is the highest anywhere in the country, JSA claimants are 50 per cent higher than the national average and weekly wages are £120 below the national average. The policies of this Tory-led Government are damaging the chances of many in Blackpool and in danger of creating a lost generation.”