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Small business group the British Chamber of Commerce sees some signs of the recession ending, but warns the recovery is still a fragile beast.

The group's quarterly survey found some improvements, especially in manufacturing, but warned that progress was weaker than it was in the third quarter of 2009.

The BCC believes the UK is on the brink of leaving the recession but is not home and dry yet.

There was a warning that banks are still failing to provide necessary capital and there has been a corresponding fall in investment in manufacturing plant and machinery.

Although there has been some improvement in exports, especially in manufacturing, UK business needs further support to sustain the recovery. The BCC called for the scrapping of the one per cent increase in National Insurance in 2011 and no new business taxes. More here.

In other news the Federation of Small Businesses is calling for an end to compulsory retirement ages. It found that 60 per cent of its members think the government should stop setting a retirement age and should bring forward its review of the process.

John Wright, national chairman at FSB said: "Nearly 80 per cent of small firms responding to our survey said they do not use the default retirement age for their staff and 76 per cent believe that retirement should be based on a mutual decision between the employee and employer.

"Two thirds said they did not think the Government should set a default retirement age and 90 per cent of small businesses would consider an employee going into part time or flexible working, rather than retiring." Full statement here. ®

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