Sussex businesses are bucking the economic trend.

Surprising figures showed the nation’s economy shrank by a worse-than-expected 0.7% between April and June.

But business leaders in the county said that confidence remained strong in Sussex.

They said that the private sector was doing all it could to create jobs but that the government must help to create conditions for future growth.

Julia Chanteray, the president of Brighton and Hove Chamber of Commerce, said: “It is dispiriting that the recession’s deepening at a time when the country really ought to be in recovery.

“This is not what the government promised and an economic u-turn is far overdue, particularly when it comes to helping business. The growth we so desperately need will start with businesses.

“In Brighton and Hove we’re fortunate enough to be seeing growth and we’re doing all we can to help companies prosper, but it’s all coming from businesses doing it for themselves, with no help from those who control the national purse strings.”

Wendy Bell, the general manager of Sussex Enterprise, the county’s chamber of commerce, said: “We believe that the disappointing figure paints an unduly pessimistic picture of the state of the economy.

“Many of our members are continuing with guarded optimism, but the government must ensure confidence is not damaged further.

“The main aim must now be to focus on measures that will help businesses grow, invest and create jobs.

“We need a government that will pull the levers only it can reach to help companies export, invest, create new jobs and grow.

“That means infrastructure investment, the creation of a state-backed business bank to lend to new and growing companies and meaningful deregulation.”

Victoria Mason, an accountant at Cardens Accountancy in Church Road, said there were plenty of new businesses starting up across the city.

She said: “We have taken on eight new people since the start of the year. I have seen a lot of new businesses from a big furniture franchise to small mobile app companies. There is business to be won out there.”

Peter Jenkins, the boss at technology and software company e-advantage, said that his sales are up 72% year-on-year.

He said: “You need to do a lot more work to win business in this climate but it is out there. This time last year there was just me. Since then I have taken on an apprentice, two contractors and a marketing executive.”

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