Worst over for British recession

LONDON: Britain's recession is past its worst but talk of economic recovery is premature as unemployment is set to top three million in 2010, business grouping the British Chambers of Commerce said on Tuesday.

"The worst phase of the recession is over, but serious downward pressures persist across all sectors and regions," BCC chief economist David Kern said in a study by the organisation assessing the second quarter.

"Most key balances are still in negative territory and remain weak by historical standards. Recovery is now possible but it is not yet secure," he added.

The BCC said it continued to predict unemployment would reach 3.2 million -- about 10 percent of the workforce -- by mid 2010.

It added that its survey of 5,600 companies showed progress in the manufacturing and service sectors.

Britain's recession-battered economy shrank at its fastest pace in more than 50 years during the first quarter of 2009 -- at 2.4 percent -- in the worst global slowdown in decades, according to official data.