Latest News | 15 April 2021

Business confidence on the rise says new study

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Confidence among the region’s businesses is at its highest since before the last General Election, according to new research by East Midlands Chamber.

As the partial reopening of the economy begins, according to the chamber’s latest Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) for Q1 2021, a net 53% of firms expect their turnover to improve over the coming year, with a third (net 35%) anticipating a rise in profits.

The chamber said it was its most comprehensive QES yet – with responses from a record 540 businesses in Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire.

The new data comes after stage two of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown, which saw hospitality, non-essential retail and personal care businesses reopen on Monday.

Chris Hobson

Chris Hobson, director of policy and external affairs at the chamber, said: “The survey data suggests businesses are ready to grow and support the wider economic recovery the country now needs.

“Sentiment among businesses is as strong as it has been since summer 2019 supported by the successful vaccine rollout programme, a roadmap for reopening the economy and a broadly positive response to the Budget.

“As stage two of the roadmap begins, this research highlights that businesses are ready to take advantage of the opportunities this will bring as we edge towards a fully open and functioning economy, anchored by an anticipated pent-up consumer demand.”

The survey also found that investment intentions are also on the up, while recruitment expectations are also strong.

However, cashflow remains a problem for a significant number of businesses.

While UK activity is recovery well, the survey found that the Brexit impact is being felt by East Midlands overseas traders.

Chris said: “Although this was partly offset by stronger performance in other markets – particularly in North America and Asia – the EU remains the East Midlands’ most significant trading partner.

“So, the extent to which businesses are able to continue moving up the learning curve for the new way of trading – or in fact whether some of the problems are structural and irreversible – will be of great importance to future prospects.”

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