Urgent growth measures needed in Budget, says BCC

The need for growth measures in next month's Budget has become even more pressing since the downgrading of the UK's AAA credit rating by ratings agency Moody's, according to the director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).

Moody's cited poor growth performance and prospects - as well as high and rising debt levels - for its decision to downgrade the UK's credit rating to Aa1 from the top AAA rating for the first time since 1978. The value of the pound fell against the dollar and euro at the start of trading on Monday, though the announcement by Moody's had taken few by surprise.

Commenting on the announcement, the BCC's director-general, John Longworth, said that the Chancellor must now press ahead with measures for growth with greater urgency. He said:

"We cannot simply hope for better times. Hope is not a strategy. So far, the implementation of growth measures by the government has been at the pace of coastal erosion. Urgent action is needed in the Budget next month to get the economy moving again, and any lacklustre performance will not be acceptable."

Last week, the BCC's chief economist, David Kern, called for the early implementation of the Government's business bank in order to support businesses with the potential and desire for growth.