Steady conditions for business in Lincolnshire with price increases on the horizon

The Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) continues to be a vital tool in providing informative insights with regards to the business community trends here in Lincolnshire.

The survey, which is undertaken by the British Chambers of Commerce on behalf of the Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce, Lincolnshire County Council and in partnership with the University of Lincoln demonstrates that in the first quarter of 2017 results remain fairly stable.

Statistics released from the first Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) of the year reveal that the stable conditions are being largely driven by settled conditions in domestic sales and orders, a steady workforce and little change in cash flow and investment conditions. In the interim, this suggests that Brexit is not dampening any spirits just yet.

At the end of last year, the QES showed that businesses were feeling optimistic heading into 2017 despite uncertain external conditions, and this still remains the case as businesses look forward to the year ahead with strong confidence levels.

However, businesses did indicate that price rises were imminent, with nearly half of all businesses surveyed indicating that exchange rates were a contributing factor. Previously, the QES showed a high number of businesses reporting inflation as a rising concern for 2017, and this has risen yet again with almost half of businesses stating it as a concern. With these pressures, businesses are increasingly reporting that prices may rise.

Dr David Gray, Principal Lecturer from the University of Lincoln commented saying:

“The inflationary impact of a depreciating currency are coming through.

“With oil rising in both dollar and sterling terms, businesses will be feeling more of a squeeze as time progresses, particularly with small firms operating close to break-even”.

In the last quarter of 2016, results revealed that almost half (47 per cent) of all exporting businesses experienced an increase in sales, likely due to favourable exchange rates. This levelled off this quarter, with around 70 per cent of exporting businesses indicating no change to their sales or orders from overseas from the previous quarter.

With Article 50 being triggered back in March, the business community can now expect a little more structure and steer as to how the Brexit road ahead looks. Whilst everyone becomes familiar with a new process for initiating Brexit, results in the next quarter may start to show any tangible effects as businesses gear up for any future changes. 

The Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce, the Lincolnshire County Council and the University of Lincoln are encouraging more and more businesses to fill out the survey, especially during this period ahead of Brexit.

Simon Beardsley, Chief Executive at the Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce spoke about why it’s important for businesses to take the time to fill out the QES saying:

“It will be interesting to measure current results with those much further down the line, and draw an accurate picture of how elements of local business change during such unpredictable times.

“The survey acts as a voice for Lincolnshire, and all results are seen by Senior Officials at Downing Street. Without significant evidence of any issues affecting local business, the less likely it is that the correct support will be provided to help.

“Therefore, we urge businesses to continue filling out the QES in the future to ensure the whole business community in Lincolnshire is heard and supported”.

For more information on the QES, including information on how to join the survey panel, and to read the latest briefing please visit the Lincolnshire Research Observatory http://www.research-lincs.org.uk/Economic-Briefing.aspx

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