UK economic downturn: what the experts say

Reactions to Britain’s economy shrinking 0.3%, from the City to the high street

At the TUC

“We are now mid-way through the coalition’s term of office and its economic strategy has been a complete disaster. We remain as dependent on the City as we did before the financial crash. The chancellor now has all the evidence he needs to change course and focus on investment and growth. If he refuses to listen he could do even more permanent damage to the economy.”

Frances O’Grady, general secretary

In the City

“A disappointing number. The UK economy is bouncing along the bottom in the weakest recovery in living memory. The more time that passes the clearer it is that America’s gradual and delayed approach to fiscal tightening right.”

Trevor Greetham, Fidelity Worldwide Investment

At the Adam Smith economic thinktank

“The government is right to cut state spending and employment, but it needs to promote stronger private sector growth to pick up more of the slack. Targeted tax cuts and deregulation designed to boost private sector job creation are just what the doctor ordered.”

Sam Bowman, research director

At the IPPR economic thinktank

“The economy is facing a triple crisis: stagnation, debt and imbalance … The government’s efforts to reduce its borrowing are becoming self-defeating … This is putting the country’s AAA credit rating under threat.”

Tony Dolphin, IPPR chief economist

At the World Economic Forum, in Davos

“The mood of business is positive. The momentum in Britain is growing and should come through in figures towards the end of the year. I am not at all depressed by the GDP numbers. Life is challenging and we all know that.”

Sir Roger Carr, president of the CBI

“It requires investment. It requires ways to unblock infrastructure projects. Otherwise the economy will continue to be sluggish.”

Anne Richards, chief investment officer of Aberdeen Asset Management

“Whether it is plus 0.3% or minus 0.3% is neither here nor there. The economy feels as if it has hit the bottom. The government should stay the course.”

Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of advertising firm WPP

On Queen Street market, West Ham, east London

“I’ve been here since ’93, and last year and this year are the worst I’ve known. The queue used to go out the door, and right down there. There’s no queue now. The profit margin is very low. I am trying to help people and give special offers. But the customers don’t have any money. I used to have 25 staff, now only half that.

“The government doesn’t do anything for small businesses. They said the Olympics would be good for business. The Olympics didn’t do anything, if anything it was bad for business.”

Hassan Mohammed, 36, butcher

“It is terrible. I am earning the same money I was 20 years ago. Twenty years ago that was really great. Now it’s terrible. GDP would be better if they [the government] looked after small businesses, and stopped letting big businesses not pay tax.”

Garry Charles, 46, greengrocer

“It’s terrible, we’re not doing a thing. No one’s got any money. We’re not doing one day’s money in three. It’s the worst I’ve known. It’s frightening. It’s a job to find the rent. We have just been talking about whether we can carry on.”

Mrs Wheatley (refused to give first name), owner of a jewellery stall

“It’s the worst it’s been in all the time I’ve been here – 36 years. No one has any money. No one is spending. The Olympics didn’t do a thing for us.”

Mrs Kaul (refused to give first name), fabric stall

“Business is slow. People don’t have money or jobs. It’s getting worse. The government is not doing enough. They only care about big companies. The Olympic time was the worst. They [he government] scared people off by going on about how bad the transport would be. It was the worst time we ever had.”

Sal Jazz, greengrocer © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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