Business confidence holds steady in South West says report

Grant Thornton's Tim Lincoln

Grant Thornton’s Tim Lincoln

Business confidence in the region remains steady, reflecting a robust financial performance as businesses continue to invest.

However, the latest ICAEW/Grant Thornton Business Confidence Monitor (BCM) indicates a skills shortage which is anticipated constrain businesses.

The BCM confidence index has recorded a score of +19.8, broadly unchanged from the previous quarter; and turnover growth has risen to 4.8%, an increase from 4.2% a year ago.

In addition, companies project that domestic demand will increase by 4.3% over the coming year, supporting sales and turnover growth of around 5%.

The report also shows that headcounts have increased at rates above 2% over the past 12 months, and 31% of businesses have reported shortages in non-management skills compared with 21% in 2014

Jon Blake, ICAEW Regional Director comments: “It is reassuring to see durable improvements across the region and a level of optimism is anticipated to continue over the next 12 months.

“This positive outlook is encouraged by easing business conditions nationally. Furthermore, public infrastructure investment in the South West including a government funded scheme to upgrade the A30, which is due to be completed in 2016, is likely to significantly benefit the region.”

“However, while financial performance is steady, the labour market is likely to act as a constraint for businesses.”

Tim Lincoln, Practice Leader, Grant Thornton South West, comments: “Growth-orientated businesses are showing confidence and good feeling spreads fast in the business community.

“Investment is happening: firms are expanding, more people are being employed; revenues and productivity are up. As these figures show, the South West is a steady growth area, quickly catching up with the traditionally more front-running areas of the UK.”