Prospects for next year | 08.12.17
Whilst the demand for labour remains strong and more people are in employment, there are signs that the economy is beginning to slow down. We have just completed our Quarterly Economic survey for the fourth quarter and for most companies, demand and sales during 2017 have been consistently good. However in the fourth quarter a greater number of businesses reported decreasing sales. This was the highest number of reports this year. This is a clear indication that the growth in the economy is slowing, this mirrors the stats reported by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Bank of England and others.
Prospects for next year are also lower at this point compared to the previous year, with a sharper increase in concerns that business conditions will worsen in the upcoming quarter. Businesses also report falling cash flow and expectation in investment, all of this indicates to a slowing economy.
The survey asked companies what they saw as the greatest threat of the economy in 2018 out of: rising oil prices, rising interest rates and the prospect of a ‘Brexit no deal’. Over 40% of respondents placed the possibility of a ‘Brexit no deal’ as the greatest threat, with rising interest rates in second place.
There is no doubt that it’s Brexit uncertainty which is seriously cooling the economy. For most businesses the prospect of the UK crashing out of the E.U with no clear plan is a matter of great concern. For this reason we are working closely with British Chambers of Commerce and the other business organisations to lobby the Government hard in agreeing a deal with Europe and bring greater certainty back into the economy. All of this work can only be done with the continued support of our Chamber members, it is vital that companies in the Devon region band together under one clear voice to get this work done. To find out more please visit www.devonchamber.co.uk
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