We have now published the Q1 2012 results of our Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) - a highly influential barometer of business confidence and performance for the Mid Yorkshire region.
Following a difficult and disappointing 2011 which saw very little growth in the economy this latest QES indicates some welcome signs of returning optimism. Home and export sales have improved while both employment figures and employment expectations are showing growth. Perhaps most importantly confidence appears to be returning, with price pressures diminishing compared with figures reported last year. Clearly these welcome figures should be seen in the context of ongoing bumpy and unpredictable economic conditions, which have failed to provide consistent improvements. Inflation and Exchange Rates remain the principal external worries for businesses in our Region, and it is clear that rising fuel costs are eroding margins for many firms.
It is essential that the Government takes the necessary steps to further encourage businesses to grow. Prior to the Budget, we made representations to the Chancellor urging the Treasury to introduce growth-promoting measures, by making a renewed commitment to the Red Tape Challenge, to produce real reforms of employment legislation; matching reductions in the headline rate of corporation tax with reductions in the rate paid by small companies; and beginning work on promised infrastructure projects without delay. In addition, we hope that Local Authorities will display the necessary determination to guarantee the new National Planning Policy Framework will support business growth by making suitable land available for development, and ensuring the planning process is transparent, quick and consistent.
Chamber Head of Policy Steven Leigh comments:
“Businesses across Mid Yorkshire have reported a more optimistic outlook during the first quarter of this year, and an improved level of confidence about economic prospects following a difficult and disappointing 2011. This optimism is somewhat unexpected, but comes as a welcome change after a sustained period of uncertainty. In view of the unpredictable survey results which we have seen over the last two years, the encouraging results this time should be tempered by an element of caution. These results are positive, but further Government interventions will be necessary to facilitate business-friendly conditions which will create the momentum for a sustained recovery. However, we welcome these improved indicators, and hope that this cautious optimism and renewed confidence in the business outlook will continue into the second quarter and beyond.”
Read the QES analysis here