Gloucestershire News

Business growth up year-on-year - but still behind historic levels

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Written by: Southwestbusiness.co.uk | Posted 08 November 2017 8:00

Business growth up year-on-year - but still behind historic levels

Despite concerns over Brexit, many companies in the West have been seeing their businesses grow at the fastest rate for two years.

The Local Business Survey by Business West, which represents the Chambers of Commerce in Gloucestershire, is said to reflect the position of 350 companies in the county as well as in Swindon, Wiltshire, Bath and the West of England.

Commenting on the Survey, which was taken in September, Business West Gloucestershire director, Ian Mean, said: “Domestic sales and orders have grown at their fastest rate for two years and business confidence is the highest it’s been since the EU referendum.

“This time last year, many firms were still reeling from the Brexit vote, prompting some of the worst results ever posted in our Local Business Survey.”

Mr Mean added: “But while we have found business confidence is at a 12 month high, it is markedly down on levels recorded before the summer of 2016.

“Although Brexit negotiations are underway, the numerous practical questions which firms across the region have been asking about our trading relationship with Europe beyond March 2019 remain unanswered.”

The survey found that subdued workforce growth in the last three months seems indicative of wider uncertainty and a tightening of the labour market.

“We found that 63 per cent of the firms surveyed who tried to recruit over the last three months are reporting difficulties in finding suitable staff," said Mr Mean.

He added: “Amid the ongoing Brexit psychodrama in Westminster and Brussels, businesses with crucial investment and recruitment decisions to make want to see progress with trade talks before the end of the year, in addition to assurances of a meaningful transition period.

“At the same time, it’s vital that more is done to help firms at home-not least by tackling long-standing skill shortages and a legacy of infrastructure investment that continues to hold business back.”

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