The latest Quarterly Economic Survey is now open. Click here to take part.
Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce represent the views of our members to national government, ensuring that the business case drives government policy. A great benefit of being part of this extensive network of business support is that your views are represented in our Quarterly Economic Survey Reports. The Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) is the UK’s largest and longest running independent survey of business sentiment.
At a local level, the QES is an important source for us at the Chamber to review performance, concerns, and views of our businesses across the counties. They then use this data when meeting with local MPs and council leaders to develop economic strategies and policies to promote and enhance growth and enterprise.
At a national level, it is a leading indicator often picking up big changes in the economy long before other surveys or official statistics. The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee use the QES as one of its key benchmarks when setting interest rates and HM Treasury and the OBR use the QES to put together their forecasts for the UK’s economic performance.
In recent surveys, encouragingly, we have seen a reduction in the number of businesses reporting inflation as a cause of concern to their business (61% of businesses, compared to 67% in the previous quarter). In Q2 2022, 81% of businesses reported inflation as a concern, highlighting the significant easing of inflationary pressure in the past 12 months. However, despite the decline, we recognise inflation remains the top external factor of concern for businesses. The number of businesses reporting interest rates as a concern has risen to 30% this quarter. Interest rate rises are now causing challenges for a rapidly growing number of firms with soaring borrowing costs. Businesses will need clarity on the direction of further changes. High inflation, high interest rates and slow growth will be a dangerous combination for many. Fundamentally, solutions need to be found beyond the interest rate lever.
Business confidence data is highly valuable in quantifying how businesses have been performing and how they expect their business to perform over the next 12 months. In the previous quarter, we saw further improvement to business confidence in turnover and profitability after a period of sharp stagnation as a result of the cost-of-living crisis. 58% of businesses reported they expect their turnover to improve over the next 12 months, compared to 54% in Q1. 14% expect their turnover to worsen, compared to 16% in Q1. There was further improvement in business profitability data. 47% of businesses expect their profitability to improve over the next 12 months, compared to 43% in Q1. Only 19% expect their profitability to worsen, decreasing significantly from 29% in Q1. The continued improvement in business confidence data reflects the national BCC data that is showing a continued improvement after a big drop in confidence throughout 2022.
The research conducted will be shared with the British Chamber of Commerce, along with 53 UK Chambers, and provide a framework from which Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce can influence local and national partners, and benefit Chamber Members in the two counties.
By taking part in this survey, to celebrate the launch of the Cyber Quarter’s cyber security consultancy service, they are offering a chance to win a comprehensive external Cyber Risk Assessment (CRA). Gain insights into cyber posture, identify weaknesses before attackers do, and receive a detailed report with mitigation steps to become cyber resilient. Following the assessment, the experts will guide through the assessment findings in a dedicated debrief along with a tour of the facilities at the Midlands Centre for Cyber Security in Hereford.