Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Chamber Chief Exec praises business resilience as inflation remains high

Inflation’s stubbornly high, but there are signs of encouragement for businesses in the latest ONS figures, says Scott Knowles, East Midlands Chamber’s chief exec.

With Consumer Price Index inflation at 10.1% in the year to February 2023, he said: “While it’s reassuring to see the headline inflation figure is not on an upwards curve again after the unexpected rise last month, the fact it remains in double figures is illustrative of how entrenched rising prices have become within our economy.

“More positively, the Producer Price Index has eased from 12.8% to 7.6%, indicating the peak may have passed for input price growth.

“Firms have been absorbing cost pressures across energy, people, raw materials and fuel for at least 18 months – and while the sustainability of this has been a concern, the patience of our resilient business community may now be starting to pay off.

“However, inflation remains far and away the number one concern among East Midlands businesses, according to the Chamber’s first Quarterly Economic Survey of 2023, ahead of other issues such as access to skilled labour, corporate taxation and interest rates.

“This has been driven by three years of global lockdowns, supply chain crises, energy shocks and new trade barriers with the EU.

“Therefore, it’s crucial Government helps businesses by focusing on what we call the ‘four Is’ in our East Midlands Business Manifesto for Growth, A Centre of Trading Excellence – investment, innovation, infrastructure and international trade.

“This will help us to achieve what has eluded us for too long and begin a period of meaningful, long-term economic growth.”

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