QES Results: Confidence up despite no change in order books

Confidence is continuing to pick up among Bradford business despite the still-difficult conditions.

The latest survey of Bradford Chamber of Commerce reveals that economic improvements are coming through but the trading environment remains tough.  Signs of improvement in investment areas are also a welcome indicator of growing confidence, says the business support body.  Pressure to raise prices also settled a little to add to a more benign business setting.

The positive indicators come through on the back of a recent Budget hailed as one supporting business and growth, although the measures included will not have chance to cause an effect until later, probably next year.  However, the reassurances given by George Osborne last month could possibly be helping to create a more ‘feelgood factor’ among the business community.  The Chamber says it is still a mixed bag though, as sales and order books struggle to fill up for some.

Paul Mackie, President of Bradford Chamber, said:  “We’re finally beginning to lose the anchor that was the recession as more and more signs emerge of brighter prospects; but there’s still much ebbing and flowing when you dig down into the business community.  The measures of the Budget aimed at helping the economy to grow have been applauded and we want see more of that come the Autumn Statement, plus initiatives in between, we’d hope.  Signs of plans to invest, and increasing labour market activity are all good news, especially given that sales and orders are often still hard to secure for many of us.  The announcement in the budget about supporting makers and doers chimes well with Bradford’s Producer City plans, too.”

Roland Clark of Clough & Company Chartered Accountants, which sponsors Bradford Chamber’s quarterly economic survey, added:  “It is to be hoped that the local economy can now begin to consolidate the recent stability that we have had and kick on from here to show more dynamism and buoyancy.  Other things are happening in and around the city to create the better conditions needed to thrive and so we believe that 2014 will be a good year for Bradford now.”

Summary
–    Confidence in services and manufacturing up a little
–    Stability in pressures on prices
–    Growing concerns on business rates in services
–    No improvement in sales or orders, at home and in exports
–    Plans to invest in equipment, in both business sectors

Yorkshire’s other Chambers, plus the national body, also reported more stability within the economy, while recognising that there is still some claw-ing back to do to get to pre-recession conditions.

Written on 14th April 2014Lillie Geistdorfer. Published in Economy, News, Survey