COUNTY business leaders have warmly welcomed Britain’s latest economic growth figures.

They have warned, though, that people should not take the recovery for granted.

Bob Bradley, president of the Oxfordshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “This is entirely consistent with what I am picking up from our members.

“But there is a degree of caution around as there are risks such as the state of the Eurozone and the United States debt. If interest rates start to go up there are definite concerns about how sustainable the recovery may be.

“The message is to capitalise on growth but don’t assume nothing will go wrong.”

Chancellor George Osborne yesterday claimed the Coalition’s economic policies were delivering a “brighter economic future” after official figures showed growth last year was the best since 2007.

Gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 1.9 per cent in 2013 and has now recovered the lion’s share of output lost in the recession, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The pace of recovery slowed slightly in the fourth quarter of last year to 0.7 per cent but economists are predicting an annual improvement of up to three per cent for 2014.

Stuart Roper, chairman of the Oxfordshire Federation of Small Businesses, added: “We are definitely seeing growth and the Chancellor needs to know a lot of it is from small businesses.

“There are definitely more opportunities around and a lot of them are down to us.”