South West economy stalls amid Brexit uncertainty

Mary Martin
Director of Marketing | Business West
13th July 2016

Business West’s latest survey of almost 1000 businesses has found that even before the EU Referendum, the South West economy was showing signs of slowing after a positive start to the year.

The regular survey of companies in the West of England, Gloucestershire, Swindon and Wiltshire in May and June found that:

  • Domestic order decreased by two points to 37%
  • International orders dropped four points to 35%.
  • Just over a quarter of firms (27%) planned to take on new staff in the next three months, which was unchanged on the quarter, and recruitment intentions fell one point to 31%.
  • All major indicators were below levels seen this time last year.
  • However, two thirds of businesses said they felt confident about the year ahead.

Commenting on the results, Phil Smith, Managing Director of Business West, said:

“It is too early to tell what impact the EU Referendum decision has had on firms across the South West, but our latest survey shows that our region’s economy showed signs of slowing amid the uncertainty leading up to the decision.

“After a strong start to the year, recruitment intentions fell and firms reported drops in both domestic and international orders ahead of the momentous vote.

“As the fallout from Brexit continues, we want to hear how the result has affected local businesses in terms of confidence, investment and recruitment decisions, both positive and negative. You can do by contacting our Policy Team.


“Although the results of this survey will be met with some concern, there are still reasons to remain confident. The week after the referendum, we saw Bristol, South Gloucestershire and Bath & North East Somerset Councils vote to push ahead with the £1 billion West of England devolution deal, which will give this area the chance to put investment into priority areas for business, such as transport, housing and skills.”


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