The latest from the Black Country 

BCC: Growth continues but greater efforts to support business investment are a must

• UK GDP quarterly growth in Q4 2014 was 0.5%, unrevised from the previous estimate.
• In 2014 annual GDP growth was 2.6% higher than in 2013, unrevised from the previous estimate.
• Services output rose by 0.8% in Q4 2014 but construction fell by 2.1%, while production edged up only marginally.
• Business investment fell by 1.4% in Q4 mainly due to problems in the oil and gas industry.
• The trade balance improved in Q4 as exports rose more strongly than imports.

Commenting on the revised estimate of UK GDP for Q4 2014 published today by the ONS, David Kern, Chief Economist at British Chambers of Commerce said:

"The latest GDP figures confirm that the UK's recovery remains strong, and based on the recent labour market figures this upturn may gather further momentum. It is positive that the trade figures have improved since the previous quarter, however the longer term comparisons again show that we still have some way to go in rebalancing our economy towards net exports.

"The fall in business investment in the final quarter, the steepest decline since the depths of the last recession, is a timely reminder that more needs to be done to promote business investment and achieve better balanced growth. Britain's economic growth is among the highest in the G7 – if we are to continue to build on this achievement we must do all that we can to support long-term business investment, while keeping interest rates low."

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