The UK economy returned to growth in the third quarter, according to the British Chambers of Commerce.

Based on its survey of 7,593 UK firms, the BCC says the economy grew by 0.5% between July and September, after three consecutive quarters of contraction.

The BCC said it did not agree with the Office for National Statistics' "gloomy estimation" that the UK has been in recession for the whole period.

But fixing the UK's finances will take longer than previously hoped, it said.

It called on the government for additional measures to boost economic growth, such as implementing quickly plans to create a "British business bank" as well as unlocking infrastructure investment.

"The job of repairing Britain's public finances will take longer to complete than initially planned," said BCC chief economist David Kern.

"Despite official estimates, we believe the economy is still growing, but it is slowing. We need immediate measures now to support confidence and investment, a radical long-term growth plan, and a continued commitment to deficit reduction."

The group, which represents 104,000 business members, said that its members' confidence in future turnover and profit has fallen to levels last seen at the end of 2011.

To help promote growth, the organisation has proposed a "growth voucher scheme", offering 20,000 small businesses £5,000 worth of advice to jump start investment and expansion plans.

Many economists had thought that the UK would rebound in the third quarter because of the boost from the London Olympics and other factors.

Last week, it was revealed that the UK economy contracted by less than thought in the second quarter, by 0.4% in the April-to-June period.

The BCC does a quarterly economic survey of 7,593 businesses across the UK.