Midlands businesses trump rising costs with growth

Credit: Shutterstock.com/ Valeri Potapova

Businesses across the Midlands have continued to develop and grow despite increasing costs and uncertainty around Brexit, according to the latest Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) results from the region’s Chambers of Commerce.

The collective results of the eight Chambers – including Northamptonshire and the East Midlands – which together represent over 14,000 companies showed that 85% of businesses across the Midlands reported increased or steady domestic sales, up from the previous quarter.

Export activity remained strong across the region with 87% reporting increased or sustained activity.

However, despite this growth, 47% of companies reported pressure to raise prices, as they begin to feel the pinch from increasing costs such as the National Living Wage, higher business rates and the sharply rising costs of raw materials resulting from the fall in the value of Sterling since the EU Referendum last June.

The region is also experiencing a significant skills shortage, hindering growth. More than half of businesses (57%) reported difficulty finding the right staff at the start of 2017, particularly for skilled manual/technical and professional roles.

Overall, the latest QES results suggest that while businesses continue to grow in the face of significant headwinds, upfront costs and volatile market conditions continue to add to the uncertainty many businesses are feeling. It’s vital that these upfront costs are addressed in order to allow businesses in the region to truly flourish in a post-Brexit Britain.