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Mixed views in waste industry as Q1 GDP grows by 0.5%

The UK’s 0.5% growth in gross domestic product (GDP) for Q1 is ‘disappointing’, says the Federation of Small Businesses environment chair David Caro.

Speaking to MRW, Caro said he expected GDP to come in a bit higher, particularly after the Government blamed the poor winter weather on the 0.5% shrink in the economy in the previous quarter.

The Office for Budget Responsibility had predicted a 0.8% GDP increase for Q1 2011.

He added: “I think with so many factors, such as the unrest in the Middle East, maybe it is to be expected but it shows exactly how fragile the economy really is.

“There are potentially more opportunities for waste management companies now. Councils are looking to maximise their recycling and receive as high a return as possible, so waste companies will definitely have a chance to help local authorities and give them the most efficient and cost-effective services possible.”

Plastics recycler Closed Loop managing director Chris Dow commented: “I’m of the perception that things seem to be generally more positive within the waste industry. Commodity prices are more buoyant now and I sense a greater confidence across businesses.”

Growth in manufacturing stayed at the same level as the previous quarter (1.1%) but for construction, it fell by 4.7%.

The Forum of Private Business felt the growth was in line with expectations. Chief executive Phil Orford said: “An increase of 0.5% is as good as we might have hoped for and it’s reassuring to know we haven’t returned to recession. However, it doesn’t indicate any great surge of economic activity, and it won’t dramatically increase confidence in the small business sector.

“If we want to see some real growth next quarter, we need some radical and immediate measures from the Government which will tangibly improve conditions for smaller businesses on the ground.

 “If smaller companies are to foster a genuine and meaningful recovery, they need to be freed from costly and time-consuming red tape, benefit from a simpler and more sympathetic tax system, and see the soaring costs of essentials like fuel and utilities tackled. This in turn should help to bring about the second thing we need to see – a significant increase in business and consumer confidence.”

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