A contraction in the size of the UK economy is no "huge surprise", says the chair of the local branch of the Institute of Directors.

The latest figures show the UK's Gross Domestic Product shrank by 0.2 per cent in the second quarter of this year.

Barry Leahey MBE, who is managing director of Playdale Playgrounds in Haverthwaite and chair of the Cumbria branch of the IOD, said businesses could expect a "bumpy time" in future months.

However, there were also opportunities to be had.

"I don't feel the figures will be a huge surprise to the average business out there and I personally believe many are expecting a bumpy ride over the next period," he said.

"I would urge those proactive business leaders out there to push their personal development and grow their network during this time, the IOD is well placed to deliver both.

"As the economy gets tougher the fitter, leaner more educated leaders and companies actually have an opportunity to thrive."

Tej Parikh, chief economist at the IOD, said: “Contraction in the second quarter is a rude awakening after the growth in the first three months of the year, and confirmation of the concerns businesses have been expressing about the economy.

“Companies have been running down stockpiles that were built up before the original March deadline for leaving the EU, and have kept production at tentative levels. Many firms have had to keep investment and recruitment decisions on ice.

“Whatever happens on October 31, the government needs to give business leaders a significant shot in the arm to return investment and productivity growth to the country.”