The largest independent survey of North East business views released today (Friday, 5 October 2018) showed a continuation of a decline in business growth with a 15% annual fall in export sales growth one of the biggest contributors.
Produced by North East England Chamber of Commerce, the Quarterly Economic
Survey results for Quarter 3 indicated that while firms have continued to invest during this period, lower levels of confidence are having an impact. The report shows a slight fall in plant investment and a much larger decline in spending on training. Similarly workforce
growth seems to have been pared back since last quarter.
John McCabe, Chamber President said: “The feedback gathered from individual
businesses for this survey tells us the ongoing uncertainty around Brexit is harming confidence. Government must get serious about delivering a deal that works for our businesses and enables them to grow. If that is achieved, there is no reason that the slowdown
we’re seeing cannot be arrested and reversed.
We should not be afraid to raise the concerns we hear around Brexit.
If those who know best what is involved in producing and selling goods and services across Europe and the rest of the world say they’re worried about the future, then there is a duty among politicians to listen.”
The QES showed businesses’ confidence in the future is erratic, with
scores relating to future turnover an profitability healthier than last quarter, however the anonymised individual
responses showed that this confidence is predicated on a number of outcomes beyond
the control of those firms.
Among business concerns, Red Tape has risen to the top of the list.
This is perhaps a consequence of the Government’s publication of ‘No Deal’ technical notices.
Brexit remained the most frequently mentioned factor hindering business
success, chiefly expressed in terms of future market conditions, exchange rates and materials costs.
The Chamber is campaigning to raise awareness of mental health issues
in the workplace and the QES asked businesses if they provide specific support to senior leaders for mental health. Less than a quarter of respondents (23%) replied they provided support and there was a number who were candid about their lack of knowledge
of what advice and assistance was available.