Responding to today’s ONS announcement, the managing director of the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, Martin Hathaway, said:  

“While it is disappointing, the news that the UK fell into recession last quarter is not surprising and echoes the findings from the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce’s Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) report.  

“Despite this news, it is important to note that the UK economy did actually grow over 2023 by 0.1 per cent with the second half’s results meaning we slipped into a relatively mild recession.  

“Higher inflation and interest rates have been cited as major factors that pushed the economy into reverse, something that we’ve been hearing from our members over the last year. I am eager to hear from the Government in the upcoming Spring Budget how they plan to tackle these issues.  

“It is becoming increasingly difficult for businesses to progress within the current climate. Our research tells us that the appetite for investment and growth is there; in Q4 of 2023, 32 per cent of service sector firms in the West Yorkshire region increased their staff training investments.  

“Training and upskilling is vital to get the economy moving again, something that we are committed to at the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce. We have been working with the West and North Yorkshire Chamber and local education providers to formulate the Local Skills Improvement Plans (LSIPs) for our region, which is now funding multiple projects in our area to tackle specific skills gaps needed by local businesses.  

“Our firms were also optimistic about 2024, with no sectors anticipating a loss in Q1. Economists seem to share this optimism with reports saying this recession may already be over and that, when compared to previous recessions, this one is particularly shallow.   

“Businesses here in the Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield regions are ready for growth. But they need a robust infrastructure, growth strategy and sufficient support and confidence from the Government to prosper.  

“I am open to discuss the business growth strategy for 2024 with our leaders regionally and nationally to ensure we can build a successful economy across the nation as a whole.” 

The Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce is currently collecting data for the Q1 2024 Quarterly Economic Survey. If you would like to get involved, please visit: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/JGYHV83