Businesses in Lincolnshire lodged strong UK sales and stable investment plans in the last Quarterly Economic Survey of 2017, but optimism for overseas trade and cash flow deteriorated.
Results for quarter four of 2017 showed an overall confidence from businesses in the county going into the New Year, as well as a jump in recruitment activity for both services and manufacturing.
However, overseas sales remained stagnant, and some 46% of businesses who participated cited ‘competition’ as a main concern with ‘inflation’ following shortly behind.
Councillor Colin Davie, Executive Member for Economy and Place, said: “Although businesses are clearly still having to navigate what remains an uncertain economic climate, there are rays of hope. Domestic sales are holding up and, importantly, local businesses remain confident about the future.
“I firmly believe that 2018 can be Lincolnshire’s year. The world is changing and, if we rise to the challenges ahead, we can truly be at the forefront of the next Industrial Revolution, which will be based around digital skills and technology.”
Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce, Lincolnshire County Council and the University of Lincoln record these results, and continue to support data gathering to help inform the local and national policy.
Simon Beardsley, Chief Executive at Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce said: “There is still a long way to go before we exit the EU in 2019, and this year is highly important as the government have now agreed on three separation issues which are; the rights of UK and EU citizens, the divorce bill and arrangements for the Northern Ireland border.
“Talks will now focus on the future relations including trade after Brexit and the terms of a ‘transition period’.
“As we edge closer to our departure, we hope to reach a pragmatic agreement with the EU which should provide clarity and understanding for many Lincolnshire businesses.
“As such it seems that this year will be more important year than ever for businesses to participate and fill out the QES.
“The results are key for assessing where the Lincolnshire business economy stands in relation to other areas of the UK, and are needed to paint a clear and complete image of what our position is now, in comparison to where we will be after Brexit.
“Tailored support will become more readily available if senior officials at Downing Street are able to identify the needs, issues and challenges within the Lincolnshire Business community. Without the local business input, the chances of this are significantly reduced.
“It is our responsibility as business professionals to provide local input and speak up on behalf of Lincolnshire”.