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Recession over? It’s still going’

PUBLISHED: 13:24 03 February 2010 | UPDATED: 11:26 23 August 2010

AS the country slowly emerges from the worst recession since the Second World War, small business owners in north Kent say it will be months before they see any change. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) announced last week that the UK s economy gr

AS the country slowly emerges from the worst recession since the Second World War, small business owners in north Kent say it will be months before they see any change.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) announced last week that the UK's economy grew by 0.1 per cent in the last three months, just taking the country out of recession.

But businesses say the news means nothing to them and that any positive effects are likely to take months to "filter" down.

Jim Beattie, who owns the Step Inn café in Swanley Centre, said: "It's absolute rubbish. It's not over and it won't be over for a long time to come. This month, compared with last year, we are 10 per cent down on profits.

"It's not just us though - other businesses in the area are doing much worse.

"I would say it will be another two to three months before we can fairly assess the impact of the end of the recession. You can't judge it at the moment because of the weather."

Mr Beattie, who chairs Swanley Chamber of Commerce, added: "One of the main problems is still the banks - they are still being tight with money. Until they start releasing money to businesses again, we are pretty stuffed.

"Alistair Darling said that good judgement led us out of the recession, but bad judgement led us into it, so I would hardly call it good judgement to get us out again."

Figures from the ONS show the economy shrank by 4.8 per cent and overall output slumped by six per cent in 2009, in the longest recession since records began in 1955.

Businessman Phil Hales, a member of pro-regeneration group Yes to Gravesend and owner of the True hair salon in High Street, said: "The recession is still going. This recovery is going to be very slow indeed.

"It's going to take a long time to see whether it is actually over. It will just take a long time to filter down to our level."

On a positive note, he added: "But I am beginning to feel, talking to other businesses, that it is picking up a little bit. It's good, actually, just to hear that we are coming out of recession. It lifts your spirits.

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