THE outlook for the UK economy may be flat, but businesses in York can benefit from numerous opportunities, delegates heard at the York Business Conference, which launched York Business Week yesterday.

The second annual York Business Conference, organised by City of York Council and sponsored by Langleys, heard from James Alexander, leader of City of York Council, and Yorkshire Bank's chief economist, Tom Vosa.

Mr Vosa warned seven years of credit bubble before the crash, would need to be mirrored before the economy corrected itself. He said: "We are not really looking at exiting this until 2014. It's a long hard slog."

But he said the global economy was still growing with 75 per cent of the world's population living in an economy that's growing by 6 per cent. He said even if China's growth slowed to 7 per cent growth, it would still be growing by the size of Greece's economy every six months.

Mr Vosa reassured businesses the Eurozone would not allow countries such as Greece to fail.

He said: "The underlying trend for UK growth has been weak and disappointing. Even the 1 per cent growth we saw in the third quarter has to be treated with caution.

"Despite the talk about austerity, government spending hasn't been falling as much as we might perceive. The government so far has been one of the major drivers of growth despite the austerity agenda." But he warned more businesses may fail in 2013 as banks came under pressure to remove "zombie" business, which were scraping a living, from their balance sheets.

"The outlook is volatile but things are slowly improving."

Coun James Alexander said the city's £28.5 million fund for local infrastructure projects had given the city its own fiscal stimulus and he said that following the announcement of Hiscox bringing hundreds of jobs to York, the council intended to target other businesses which could benefit from York's existing supply chain.

He said: "We can confidently say that the city is in a better place than it was a year ago and we have begun on the path to delivery. York really does mean business.