BCC says Queen's Speech offers opportunity to boost the economy but delivery will be key to real change.
The British Chambers of Commerce today announced the publication of new research which shows a rising number of firms expecting their prices to increase significantly in the coming months. The figures also document growing concern among businesses over rising inflation. The data, drawn from responses from more than 5,800 firms, shows 2 in 5 businesses (38%) in Q1 2021 expect to see their prices increase in the next three months, an increase from 25% in the previous quarter. In contrast, only 5% of firms are expecting a decrease.
BCC says data for February 2021 shows modest growth and a further boost is likely as economy reopens but warns that continued improvement is not guaranteed.
The British Chambers of Commerce’s Trade Confidence Outlook for Q1, released today, has revealed the stark issues facing UK exporters in the first months of this year. The survey of more than 2,900 UK exporters revealed that the percentage of firms reporting decreased export sales had increased to 41%, up from 38% in the previous quarter. The percentage of businesses reporting increased export sales fell to 20%, down from 22% in Q4 2020. 40% reported no change in their export sales.
BCC welcomes news that Phase 2 reopening will go ahead in England on April 12 but calls for more information on COVID certificates and International Travel proposals.
UK’s largest independent survey of business sentiment and a leading indicator of UK GDP growth – found that business conditions remained historically poor in the first quarter of 2021 as the third lockdown severely limited activity.
BCC Co-Executive Director Claire Walker said: “We welcome the Government’s announcement of the provision of rapid home testing kits for businesses to provide for employees."
BCC President, Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith, says the route back to a full reopening of the economy is still a long way off, with continued uncertainty about whether, and when, the roadmap steps will be met.
Suren Thiru, BCC Head of Economics, says the discount to rates bills provided by the new fund is a positive step which can help support the cash flow of some of our hardest-hit businesses.
"With many firms struggling with the damage done to their cashflow by a year of covid restrictions, unemployment is likely to remain on an upward trajectory until well beyond a full reopening of the economy."