Lincolnshire

Political turmoil affecting business confidence in Lincolnshire, economic survey finds

A recent survey has suggested that business confidence has dropped in Lincolnshire amid political turmoil.

The Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) is a tool for businesses in Lincolnshire, allowing them to answer a series of questions on key economic indicators, which when aggregated formulate common trends, business insight and essentially, provide a snapshot of how the local economy is performing.

The survey is undertaken by the British Chambers of Commerce on behalf of Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce, Lincolnshire County Council and in partnership with the University of Lincoln.

Results from the second quarter demonstrate that short term business performance is generally positive for the time being, with an increase in domestic and overseas sales and strong levels of recruitment contributing to workforce growth.

However, business confidence appears to have taken a hit amid political turmoil.

Results also show that manufacturing has suffered a slowdown this quarter with very few businesses in the sector reporting increased sales and orders.

Whilst sales levels are down for manufacturing, there is positive news for the service sector as domestic sales are up from the previous two quarters, demonstrating a steady increase despite business uncertainty.

With regards to overseas sales and orders, businesses have reported improvements in export sales albeit at a much slower rate than last year’s increment. However, export orders have remained relatively lacklustre despite the competitive boost of the weak sterling exchange.

At a glance, business confidence appears to have taken a slight hit with more respondents expecting a drop in turnover and profits during the next 12 months.

David Grey, principal lecturer from the University of Lincoln said: “Political uncertainty, not least over what Brexit actually means and when and how it is implemented, is likely to hinder investment plans and depress business sentiment for some time.”

Councillor Colin Davie, executive member for economic development at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “The results suggest that it’s generally a positive picture for Lincolnshire businesses at the moment.

“However, there are signs that confidence has been affected by the current political uncertainty.

“My message to local businesses is this: you can rely on us to provide the support you need to thrive. I’m optimistic about our future, and truly believe that, for Lincolnshire, the best is yet to come.”