Confidence is tumbling among West firms as sales fall and orders decline, a gloomy new survey shows.
Some 233 firms from across the region took part in the survey by business lobbying and services group Business West, which shows business are being put under increasing strain as the UK economy stays in the doldrums.
Business West said the results showed worrying trends on a number of key economic indicators.
The survey charted business owners attitudes to a number of key areas for the second quarter – a period when the economy officially lurched back into recession.
The results show while easing inflation is reducing cost pressures, declining orders and sales across the board are giving cause for concern.
Business West managing director Phil Smith said: "While at a national level, business growth continues to sustain itself at a steady but slow pace, local results from businesses paint a slightly different picture.
“Across the local business sphere, businesses are telling us that on both domestic and export fronts, sales and order books are down.
“There are, of course, many contributing factors to this downturn. The region’s exposure to current instabilities in the eurozone, for example, cannot be underestimated.
“However, as we continue to hear time and again, it remains the case that a lack of certainty from Government on the direction of economic travel, is giving rise to business instability.
“While initiatives such as the recently announced extension of the National Loan Guarantee Scheme and the Chancellor’s announcement of a Funding for Lending scheme offer opportunities for business, questions remain whether such individual measures are collectively delivering for the real economy.
“Growth cannot wait. The Government must take an imaginative and brave approach to stimulating the economy and helping businesses to thrive. There must be a relentless determination to deliver Whitehall policies on the ground.”
Business West represents more than 6,000 businesses across its network of chambers of commerce in Bristol, Bath and Gloucestershire.
PUBLICATION: Bristol Business News - 10 July 2012
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