More businesses in Bradford are looking forward to 2015 with increasing confidence, according to a new survey.
Members of Bradford Chamber of Commerce told researchers at the end of last year that they expect profits to increase during 2015 as trading conditions improve. There is still plenty of caution among many firms as they face unpredictability, especially given that it’s an election year, but more firms are preparing to invest in growing than did during 2014.
Order books for many firms, in both domestic and foreign markets, are looking better, after bombing last quarter; companies are looking to invest in new equipment, if not necessarily in staff training just yet; and there is an expectation that workforce numbers could increase later this year. Cashflow also improved a little against the previous quarter.
The Chamber asks its members each quarter various questions about recent trading conditions and how external factors such as costs and rates are affecting tem. It can then track economic performance and confidence across the District, to support its representation activities with policy-makers and others, such as the Bank of England.
There was virtually no change in turnover level for a majority of Bradford firms responding to the Chamber survey, but improving expectations of increased profits is no doubt a major pointer at this time. Many companies, however, continue to stress the uncertain nature of being in business in recent years: ongoing international military conflict, EU economic instability and the pending May General Election are all cited as areas of concern affecting business confidence.
Mike Cartwright, Policy & Representation Executive, said: “Trading is picking up for many businesses and we all hope that this will be sustained over the medium and long-term, but there is also more than enough going on to act as a distraction from putting in fresh investment. It’s another aspect to what was initially called the ‘new normal’, whereby there’s no return to the heady days before the recession, and growth and trading would be much more modest. This has proved to be the case. However, for the first economic marker for 2015, it’s not too bad a start.”