Business Growth Survey 

The meeting was opened by The Chambers CEO Louise Bennet OBE DL  who covered the initial results of the quarterly survey explaining the importance of this information and how it gives us an immediate understanding of where the market is going serving as an early warning system. 
The outlook for Q1 2017 for our area shows an increase of 66.2 up from Q4 2016 of 64.9. Manufacturing has seen greater strengthening in outlook up from 63.3 to 66.4 while the service sector showed a rise of 0.7 from 65.5 to 66.2.  Cutting through the figures we understand that the position in our area is markedly stronger than national PMI based indicators, good news for our area.
Business confidence is at a very healthy 76 points for manufacturing and 78.9 for the service sector. Typically the main barriers to growth have proved to be Skills Shortage, cost, cash, and access to finance, property, and investment in R&D and innovation. More than half of those surveyed are looking to recruit but a huge 87% had experienced difficulties attracting the best talent.
During the Q&A the importance of outsourcing services like HR, Finance, and Recruitment to experts was agreed to be the best way forward for businesses as they could tap into skill sets that they do not have within their Companies.