GOOD news arrived for UK businesses last week, when the International Monetary Fund raised its estimated growth for the economy and we saw employment figures on the rise.

According to reports, the IMF will upgrade its estimate of UK GDP for the coming year to 2.4 per cent. In October it was forecasting just 1.9 per cent.

It seems a timely upgrade to some, after a host of economic indications significantly exc-eeded expectations over the past four months.

A rate of 2.4 per cent growth in 2014 would still be lower than the average forecast from private sector analysts, which optimistically predicted 2.7 per cent. A similar rate of growth was predicted by the British Chambers of Commerce which said it expects GDP to grow by 2.8 per cent.

The housing market is still on the up. December gross mortgage lending was a stunning 49 per cent higher than a year earlier, making it the highest total for a December since 2007.

But the mortgage buoyancy was not matched by business lending, according to the Bank of England. Lenders, however, do expect demand to pick up significantly in the months ahead, as confidence grows.

I have approached 2014 with greater confidence than the start of 2013 within my business of the motor trade. The sales of the 63 plate last September were encouraging. With the improved UK economic confidence reflected by the increased spending habits of the business community, this hopefully seems set to continue – fingers crossed. The talk of growth is all very encouraging for our region, but through the Dorset Chamber we must ensure that our voices are heard at the Local Enterprise Partnerships and emphasise the role of the entrepreneur in creating jobs wealth and growing economy.

We must support and encourage members in setting the benchmark and proving high-quality advice and training that is recognised as best in class.

Our intention is to continue to raise the profile of the Chamber through all these activities and by adopting a clear voice in the local media, commenting on issues of relevance to all of you as members, and this I believe will go some way to making 2014 a year when many of us will see success.