Quarter 3 Survey shows businesses lack confidence in business conditions
Our latest survey of business confidence and business performance shows businesses remain reticent about conditions, with few outstanding positives in a disappointing Quarter. Clearly, the Government must do more to support growth and provide the necessary conditions for businesses to expand and invest. All the right rhetoric is there, but businesses expect the action to back this up.
Chamber Head of Policy, Steven Leigh, comments on the Q3 survey:
This Quarter 3 survey reports that Home Sales and Orders have risen, and this must be seen as a broad positive, although improvements are unexceptional. Elsewhere, Export Sales and Orders have dipped following a brief rally last time. Unfortunately, Employment and Employment Expectations are flat and have tailed off steadily since the first Quarter of 2011. Cashflow and Capital Investment represent the standout positives in the survey, both picking up after a fall last Quarter. But perhaps the most telling graph in this survey is Business Confidence, which remains static after several rises and falls over the last two years. Concerns have risen over finance costs and ‘other overheads’, and businesses remain uneasy about inflationary pressures. The overall picture is disappointing, and unfortunately the survey indicators fall well short of the improvements we had all hoped to see this Quarter.
In the Q2 survey we greeted with caution the Government’s announcement of the ‘Funding for Lending’ scheme. Some progress has been made on this initiative, with the Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group both withdrawing funds from the £80bn the Government has offered. It will remain to be seen how effective this mechanism is but it is evident that the issue of access to finance remains a persistent obstacle to growth. Elsewhere we continue to lobby for infrastructure spending, particularly on house building and on regional transport investment. This investment is badly needed in Yorkshire where consistent under-spending has left many commuters and business travellers with a poor level of service. We have also repeatedly called on the Government to provide more comprehensive support for exporters, for whom conditions are particularly difficult. Tax incentives for overseas sales, and improved financial instruments for exporters could help ease the difficulties which are presently arising, especially for first time exporters.
Read the full text of our Quarter 3 Survey here