County firms go for growth

Ian Greenaway, DNCC
Ian Greenaway, DNCC
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Confidence amongst Derbyshire firms is at its highest level in five years, according to the results of the region’s biggest regular business survey.

The latest Quarterly Economic Survey from the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce (DNCC) reveals that local businesses have more confidence in their future turnover and profitability than at any time since June 2007 – whilst 80 per cent are planning to grow their business turnover in the next year.

That comes in spite of a further slowdown in UK and export sales in the third quarter of the year, which fell by a net 13 per cent and nine per cent respectively for Derbyshire firms in Q3.

The uplift in confidence has seen the Chamber’s State of the Economy Index – which tracks local business performance across a range of economic indicators – increase by 30 points on Q2.

But Derbyshire firms are evenly split on whether or not the Government should change its deficit reduction policies, with 36 per cent saying yes, 33 per cent per cent saying no and 31 per cent undecided.

When asked the same question in Q4 2011, 71 per cent said the Government should persevere with its austerity plan and only 15 per cent said it should change course.

Instead of spending cuts being the priority, businesses are looking for more investment in infrastructure projects, support for SMEs and manufacturers, getting finance flowing and reducing VAT to stimulate consumer demand.

DNCC President Ian Greenaway said: “It is extremely encouraging to see business confidence remaining strong, with the vast majority of businesses looking to expand over the next 12 months.

“Business services, training and engineering companies are the most confident about increasing both turnover and profitability in the next three months.

“Construction is the least confident sector, affected by problems in accessing finance and lack of investment in infrastructure projects. “

He added: “Despite official estimates, we believe the economy is still growing, but it is slowing.

“We’ve heard some positive announcements from Government recently regarding a long-term industrial strategy, the creation of a new business bank and plans to further rollback regulations that stop businesses from growing.

“What we need to see now is swift and effective action from Westminster to deliver what has been promised.”