Services firms enjoy best business growth since 2007 - CBI

LONDON Tue Aug 27, 2013 4:42am BST

A taxi passes patrons sitting at a hotel restaurant's street tables in Covent Garden, central London March 27, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Winning

A taxi passes patrons sitting at a hotel restaurant's street tables in Covent Garden, central London March 27, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Andrew Winning

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LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's services firms have enjoyed the fastest rise in business volumes since the boom days of 2007 in the past three months and expect further growth later this year, a survey showed on Tuesday.

The poll by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), which also found rising optimism in the key sector of the economy, adds to a string of recent signs that recovery is gathering pace.

"We've seen a further build-up of momentum in the service sector this quarter, with business and professional services firms in particular seeing a turnaround in their fortunes," said Stephen Gifford, CBI director of economics.

Confidence about the future soared among providers of accountancy, legal, marketing and other business services, recording its fastest rise since the survey began in 1998.

Consumer firms, such as hotels and restaurants, were slightly less upbeat, with many of their customers still squeezed by slow wage growth and high inflation.

The broader service industry - which makes up more than three quarters of gross domestic product - helped the economy grow by a surprisingly strong 0.7 percent in the April-June period, and a survey of purchasing managers signalled another healthy showing by the sector in July.

The CBI interviewed 161 firms between July 26 and August 14.

(Reporting by Olesya Dmitracova)

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