UK Manufacturing boost fails to lift Growth

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) today (Friday 13th October 2017 ) published its Quarterly Economic Survey – the UK’s largest and most authoritative private-sector business survey. It’s findings will be of interest to The Credit Protection Associations members and visitors in the UK SME sector.

Based on the responses of over 7,100 businesses, the survey shows that despite improvements in the manufacturing sector, the UK economy grew at a muted rate in the third quarter of 2017.

The number of manufacturers reporting improved domestic sales and orders rose in the quarter to its highest level since early 2015, the BCC said. Export sales and orders in the sector also improved. But in services, domestic sales and orders remained static, as did the sector’s employment expectations. The BCC said its survey also showed the prevalence of recruitment difficulties facing UK businesses, which worsened further during the quarter.

However, in the services sector, traditionally the main driver of UK economic growth, domestic sales and orders remained static in Q3, as did the sector’s employment expectations, investment in training, and confidence in profitability and turnover. Almost all services indicators remain below their pre-EU referendum levels, with consumer-focused businesses reporting weaker growth rates compared to B2B firms.

The muted results make clear the need for the upcoming Autumn Budget to provide support to the economy – and begin to address some of the issues faced by UK businesses that are undermining the UK’s growth prospects, including the skills gap, high upfront costs and aging infrastructure. With Brexit-related uncertainty growing, the survey demonstrates the need for action to support a competitive and enterprising business environment.

Against this backdrop, it seems extraordinary that the Bank of England are considering raising interest rates. With UK economic conditions softening and continued uncertainty over Brexit, it is vital that the MPC provides monetary stability.

Now is the time for the Government to take bold action, and create the conditions to help the economy rebound from a period of anaemic growth. Government must demonstrate competence, coherence, and above all a clear plan to support the economy through a period of change

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