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Business confidence in South West greater than UK average

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Written by: Hannah Baker | Posted 30 November 2017 9:08

Business confidence in South West greater than UK average

The South West is one of only three regions to see positive business confidence in Q4, according to the latest ICAEW Business Confidence Monitor.

At 5.8 it is still low, but higher than the UK average of -3.4.

Domestic sales growth has slowed to 1.9 per cent in the year and exports are growing at an even slower pace of 1.1 per cent.

Slowing sales has put downward pressure on profit growth which grew by just one per cent over the past 12 months

Over the next 12 months, figures show that domestic sales is predicted to increase by 4 per cent and exports by 2.5 per cent.

Companies also expect to see an improvement in profits in the year ahead, but remain cautious about increasing head count.

Read more: Opinion: South West companies should be embracing artificial intelligence

Martin Warren, ICAEW South West director, said: “Although business confidence is considerably higher than the UK average, we are still seeing concerns from companies.

“The root cause of these concerns remains the uncertainty of EU negotiations as well as instability within the Government following the shock election results.

“Over a quarter of businesses have reported a lack of labour in non-management roles as a concern, and as many small businesses in the South West region are in the tourism and agricultural sectors, they can be heavily reliant upon migrant EU labour.

“Hopefully, confidence will improve as implications of the Brexit vote become more clear.

“Over the next 12 months, we see a positive outlook of increased domestic sales and exports, which, if achieved, will lead to increased confidence from businesses and hopefully encourage further investment and spending.”

 

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