Business West’s latest quarterly economic survey, which included Swindon and Wiltshire, has revealed mixed fortunes for local businesses.
The survey, comprising more than 250 business responses from across the South West, shows welcome improvements on a number of economic indicators for the first quarter of 2012.
It is part of the British Chambers of Commerce Quarterly Eco-nomic Survey of 8,000 respondents across the UK, which also found encouraging signs of growth.
However, while the signs are more encouraging than previous quarters, they do show growth is still too weak and issues around cashflow and depressed domestic orders are still causing problems for local businesses. Despite this, businesses remain confident and optimistic about the future.
Phil Smith, MD of Business West, said: “It is encouraging to see local businesses reporting improvements in their working environment and feeling more confident at the start of 2012 than they were last year.
“Particularly pleasing to see, is the continued strong growth in the export market. With sales and orders increasing significantly across our region, this provides a real sense of optimism that the South West can lead on a national economic rebalancing in favour of export driven growth.
“Despite this optimism, there are areas where more support and action is needed from government.
“Access to finance and cashflow are still a real issue for firms and, although concerns about inflation are decreasing, recent increases in oil and food prices may have a negative impact in the coming months.
“The latest announcements around credit easing, the new simplified planning framework and the launch of the Youth Contract, represent positive action from government. We need a continued focus on policies to support growth that enable businesses to create jobs, invest and export.
“The South West economy is still facing huge challenges and the recovery is too slow. To achieve our potential, government has to set businesses free to grow.”
PUBLICATION: Wiltshire Business - 12 April 2012