The UK economy is edging dangerously close to recession with business turnover declining for the seventh consecutive month in December, according to the latest business trends report.
The research, produced by accountants and business advisers BDO, found output dropped to 91.4 in December, from 92.5 in November, according to the group's BDO Output index.
The decline in output means business turnover is stubbornly below the crucial 95 mark indicating growth in the sector.
The index, which measures turnover expectations in three months' time, shows businesses have not grown their revenues since July 2011.
Peter Hemington, a director at BDO, said now is the time for the Bank of England to pull the trigger on a third round of quantitative easing to give UK businesses a boost.
"It is apparent the UK economy has reached a crunch point. The government must respond decisively if the UK is to avoid a period of prolonged contraction," said Hemington.
"To arrest the forecast slump, we urge the Bank of England to consider a further round of quantitative easing, and we encourage the banks to continue to step up their lending to UK businesses."
However, on a more positive note, BDO's Inflation index has signalled inflationary pressures are beginning to ease, as the index has fallen for the fifth successive month.
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