Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Doncaster’s more optimistic than the national average – but Brexit is still a concern

Doncaster Chamber’s latest quarterly Business Insight Survey shows firms more positive than the national picture – but Brexit is still their biggest concern.

Key indicators of their economic health showed a more positive balance of Doncaster firms reporting increased sales, advance orders, and employment in Q1 2019 compared to the overall UK Quarterly Economic Survey results.

Firms’ expectations for future turnover, profitability and recruitment, on balance, also increased as they decreased nationally.

The balance of Doncaster firms reporting improved cashflow remained the same but for UK firms it turned negative for the first time since 2012.

However, against a backdrop of a slowing global economy, escalating Brexit uncertainty, and rises in business costs as the UK enters a new tax year, the latest results from the survey of 159 local businesses reflected a slight decrease in investment for plant and machinery and training.  This is in line with the national picture which shows investment intentions at their lowest level for eight years.

This might be explained, in part, by the lack of clarity over the UK’s future relationship with the EU which continues to weigh on investment intentions by businesses.

The survey showed that Brexit is more of a concern for 24% of firms than 3 months ago, followed by competition, taxation and business rates.

Says Dan Fell, CEO of Doncaster Chamber: “The uncertainty and national policy paralysis caused by Brexit is well documented.  Doncaster’s businesses have not been immune to these macro-economic headwinds and over the last year we have seen a steady reduction in business confidence and investment intentions.

“Despite this, Doncaster continues to more than punch above its weight being recognised as the fourth city in the UK for private sector job creation and with a number of transformative projects either coming to fruition or getting the green light to go ahead in the near future.

“It is therefore pleasing, to see business sentiment figures reflecting the local spirit of positivity rather than the national mood of doom and gloom with Doncaster businesses bucking the national trend by reporting upward ticks for most key indicators in the Doncaster Business Insight survey this last quarter.

“This suggests an increasing level of economic resilience in Doncaster and demonstrates that local policy makers are getting it right by continuing to be resolutely business friendly in challenging economic times.  By focusing on jobs and inclusive economic growth, Doncaster will ensure that businesses, jobs and residents are protected as best as they can be whatever the national and international economic weather.”

The results of the Doncaster Business Survey, sponsored by ProAktive and supported by Doncaster Council, are fed into the British Chambers of Commerce Quarterly Economic Survey which are used as an economic indicator by national and international organisations including the Bank of England.

Fieldwork for Quarter 2 survey will begin on 20 May 2019. Participate at doncaster-chamber.co.uk

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