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Business bank needed to realise growth potential, says BCC

The Government should press ahead with the implementation of its business bank to support firms with the potential for growth, according to a leading business network.

The latest employment figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that the number out of work fell by 14,000 in the final quarter of 2012.

Commenting on the figures, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) warned that the good news was offset by the 0.3 per cent fall in GDP over the same period. According to the BCC's chief economist, David Kern, the 'contrast between the two suggests there has been a significant decline in productivity over the past year.'

Mr Kern said that the positive employment figures showed that British businesses were willing and able to grow but that the fall in productivity indicated that more must be done to allow businesses that are capable of growth to realise their potential. He said, '...improving the availability of finance... would be a good place to start, and this includes the early creation of a business bank.'

Neil Carberry, director for employment and skills at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), focused on the 1.3 per cent rise in regular pay over the same period, which the ONS described as a 'cut in the real value of pay' with inflation at 2.7 per cent. Mr Carberry said, 'the weakness of pay growth shows we are not out of the woods yet.'