Responding to the latest ONS survey on business conditions, William Bain, Head of Trade Policy at the BCC, said:
“This data backs up our own findings that the supply chain has been facing persistent challenges for the last few months. It is no surprise that more than one in three trading businesses have experienced problems in sourcing materials, goods and services at home, or had to change suppliers.
“Over the last 18 months, our own research has also illustrated the unprecedented impacts on revenue, cash flow and international trade.
“As recently as Q2 2021, we found that nearly 3 in 4 exporters reported no sales growth.
“We also discovered that 82% of construction sector firms that attempted to recruit in that quarter said they faced recruitment difficulties – the highest level on record.
“Around half of construction sector firms also cited ‘inflation’ as more of an issue to their business than the previous quarter.
“Other issues picked up included commodity shortages, skills shortages, new costs to international trade, and insecurity of supply chains
“The ONS data shows Brexit continues to be a major factor too, with companies experiencing challenges on both imports and exports, issues with customs duties and rising transport costs.
“This is further strong evidence that the UK Government should convene a summit with key business organisations and firms to consider the short and long-term solutions. The supply chain disruption must not be allowed to worsen over the next few months in the run up to Christmas.”