UK GDP: The businesses behind the return to growth

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The UK economy's welcome return to growth has brought to an end nine months of consecutive decline. But some businesses say official figures are just catching up with what they have been experiencing for some time.

They have been doing well and creating jobs, despite a very difficult period for the economy since the start of the financial crisis four years ago.

Household appliance maker: Orders flooding in

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Ebac's Pamela Petty: "Orders are still coming in thick and fast"

The recession hasn't affected demand for dehumidifiers and water coolers, even from struggling eurozone economies such as Spain and Greece, it seems.

County Durham-based Ebac water coolers has seen no drop in orders and has just received public funding to help it expand into washing machines, creating 200 jobs and making it the first washing machine manufacturer in the UK for some time.

Torch maker: Hopes of strong future after memorable year

Media caption,
The BBC's Steph McGovern visited the Premier Group which benefited from producing the Olympic torches

Coventry-based Premier Group won the contract to make 11,500 Olympic and Paralympic torches. Thanks to that it spent £2m on new machinery and took on 40 new staff.

Company director Wayne Woolford hopes the news of a return to growth will give businesses confidence to invest and new contracts will come its way.

Landing gear parts help high-tech firm's profits take off

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Renishaw assistant chief executive Ben Taylor: "We're fortunate we support aero production and they're doing well"

Profits more than doubled at Gloucestershire firm Renishaw last year. They are in the process of recruiting 120 people.

The precision circuit boards it makes are bought by other factories and healthcare firms, so it is a good sign if companies like Renishaw are doing well.

"There's elements of manufacturing in the UK where an investment's being made, because its growing," said Ben Taylor, assistant chief executive.

"We are building more aero engines, more equipment for aircraft, the car industry is now doing very well. And we also have new technology, because it is new technology which will drive us out of recession."

And Renishaw is not alone in the west of England in doing well, according to business correspondent Dave Harvey.

"Dotted across the west of England are small firms making specialised kit for aircraft, for cars, for satellites. Airbus and Boeing are both doing a roaring trade, sustaining around 50,000 jobs in this part of the world. Honda is back in business after a terrible few years," our correspondent says.

"Vitally, many of these specialist companies export a lot: Renishaw exports 94% of the precision measuring tools it makes in Gloucestershire. But many more traditional firms are still struggling, most of all builders - who have never had it so bad - and retailers, whose customers are still finding there's not much cash to spare on luxuries after the bills are paid."

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