Weak signs of growth from cautious Sheffield businesses

Richard Wright
Richard Wright

BUSINESSES in the Sheffield City Region remain cautious about the future, according to a survey taking the temperature about their views about growth.

More than 150 businesses, employing 20,000 people, from the region took part in the latest British Chambers of Commerce’s Quarterly Economic Survey (QES), which looks at business confidence in manufacturing and service sectors during the second quarter of the year (April – June).

Results indicate that while turnover and profitability remains good, levels are static compared with the first quarter of the year. Investment in machinery and training has also stayed constant, while cashflow continues to be a cause for concern.

Of the businesses surveyed, more than 100 export around the world. The service sector has indicated an increase in export sales and orders, while UK sales and orders have also improved. Meanwhile, manufacturing has also seen a slight increase in export sales and orders, however UK sales and orders remain low.

Employment in manufacturing has been low in the last three months, but expectations for further jobs in the sector have marginally improved.

Richard Wright, executive director of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, said: “The results paint a picture of cautiousness within the business community. There are signs of growth, however, it remains weak.

“Due to the uncertainty surrounding the UK economy and the on-going crisis of the Eurozone, businesses are sitting tight and waiting for the storm to clear. There is a real lack of confidence from businesses to take risks and re-invest profits generated as it is difficult to predict what is around the corner.

“However, we are pleased to see exports continue to be strong in manufacturing, while the service sector has seen a vast improvement. This is positive news and a step forward, but more needs to be done by Government to provide businesses with an environment for growth and offer greater confidence for them to part with their hard-earned cash.”