Stagnation In Confidence and Economic Conditions As Recovery Fails To Pick Up
Our latest economic survey indicates business confidence remains, at best, static. Surveying business performance and sentiment for Quarter 4 of 2012, the report shows some positive signs, with export sales and orders ticking up, but the broad picture remains underwhelming and it is clear the economic recovery continues to bump along, with little consistent upward momentum.
UK Sales and Orders Static
It is to be hoped that latent demand, lost during the recession, will continue to unblock during the year ahead. However, domestic and overseas markets remain volatile and it is becoming increasingly disappointing that we have still not yet seen any consistent upwards trends.
Investment Falls Slightly
Hopefully these figures will pick up early in 2013, but this will depend on the right policy conditions. Access to finance remains an obstacle to investment and growth and the Government must set up the British Business Bank at the earliest opportunity to help viable and fast-growing companies to gain access to affordable capital.
No Change in Business Confidence
We are yet to see from the coalition any convincing and persuasive vision for growth in the UK – as government policies continue to tinker around the edges with an unsettling degree of inconsistency. Successfully realised policies are frequently tied up in bureaucracy and take an age to come into force. This is frustrating for business and it is not good enough if we are to be successful in promoting our economic recovery.
Chamber Head of Policy Steven Leigh commented:
As we begin the New Year there is some evidence of cautious optimism about our economic future. However, business success will hinge on many external factors, including more favourable policy conditions, a reduction in inflationary pressures, increased consumer demand and greater support for exporting companies. Our Chamber will continue to lobby Government on behalf of the business community in our region, seeking sound policy decisions to support growth. In particular, we will continue to call for more investment in skills and infrastructure, a solution to the problems with access to finance, a renewed effort to tackle red tape and further support for exporters.