North Staffordshire economy slowing, Staffordshire Chambers’ survey reveals…
The North Staffordshire economy is slowing, according to the latest local economic survey by Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce. The survey also revealed that nearly two-fifths of businesses are being hampered by local road traffic congestion.
The findings are based on 136 responses to Staffordshire Chambers’ quarter three economic survey.
The survey, for the period ending 30 September, revealed a general slowing of growth across the manufacturing and services sectors. The results reflect the national picture, where most key outcomes were weaker than in quarter two.
Forty-three per cent of businesses saw an increase in sales, which is down 19 per cent on the last quarter. Fewer firms saw an increase in orders this quarter, the results falling from 64 per cent to 41 per cent.
Similarly, only 46 per cent of businesses reported an increase in export sales, compared to 83 per cent in quarter two.
Notable exceptions were the investment made by businesses for plant and machinery, up from 22 per cent to 37 per cent, and in investment in training, up from 38 per cent to 56 per cent.
Thirty-nine per cent of respondents said their business had suffered as a result of traffic congestion.
Jane Gratton, Deputy Chief Executive of Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce, said:
“These latest survey results are somewhat disappointing, as both manufacturing and service firms experienced dampened growth and confidence. Global uncertainty, weakened demand from China and the strength of the pound are some of the factors likely hindering manufacturers’ performance.
“We must help businesses get access to the working and growth capital that they require and deal with the intensifying skills gap, which is holding British businesses back. The Chancellor’s Spending Review is the opportune time to tackle these shortcomings.”
Jane added: “Regarding transport congestion, we know there are many local pinch points in our towns, causing delays and adding to business costs. To help us understand in greater depth where the problems arise and how they affect our business community, we will be carrying out a more in-depth transport congestion survey. This will give businesses the opportunity to highlight congestion hot spots and identify possible ‘quick-win’ solutions.”
The quarterly economic survey is a national survey which provides an overview of how the local economy is faring, enabling comparisons to be made with other parts of the UK. It also helps Staffordshire Chambers to assess the impact national policy changes may be having locally.
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