Chamber Head of Policy, Steven Leigh, comments on the latest Q3 survey results.
Chamber Head of Policy, Steven Leigh, comments: "The results for our third Quarter survey are disappointing because most key balances are down on the previous Quarter. These are worrying results which have brought to a halt the more optimistic outlook we reported during the first half of the year. Home sales and export balances have fallen and levels of business confidence have reduced substantially since our Quarter 2 analysis.
The sustained strong Sterling rate against the Euro and the US Dollar is now making it very difficult for our exporters to win overseas business, so it is now absolutely essential for our Government to support our businesses to the maximum. An opportunity will arise for the Chancellor to help when he announces his Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) towards the end of November.
However, the biggest concern is that business confidence has taken a tumble - with reduced turnover expectations and, more worryingly, a big drop in profitability expectations. Since business confidence is a fundamental requirement for sustainable economic growth this is a genuine cause for concern.
Continued uncertainty around the world, weakened demand from China and other developing markets, the continued low price of oil, the strength of the Pound and overseas migrants to the EU all represent formidable problems for our political classes to somehow resolve. Chambers of Commerce are lobbying for those things we can influence. These include access to affordable working and growth capital for British businesses, and for some resolution to the skills gap which is overtaking some sectors and different parts of the Country. Despite the very necessary austerity measures aimed at tacking the fiscal deficit, we must also remain committed to significant investment in road, rail and broadband infrastructure if we are to create a world-class economy for Britain. Together with eight other Northern Chambers of Commerce we have written to George Osborne with a submission suggesting that he gives his attention to these fundamental issues in his November CSR.
Chambers of Commerce like ourselves are champions for a more business-friendly governance framework which will provide solid foundations for the UK’s sustainable economic recovery. On behalf of our members and the wider local business community we will continue to press Government to set a wealth-creating business agenda."
To view the full Q3 report click here