Earlier this week, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) published the results of its latest Quarterly Economic Survey – the largest private sector survey of business sentiment and the leading indicator of UK GDP growth.

The report was produced based on feedback from over 7,000 businesses across the UK in the first quarter of 2019, and found that key indicators of UK economic health have already weakened considerably in the first few months of the year.

The balance of firms reporting improved cashflow has turned negative for the first time since 2012, following a continuing decline over recent years.

The lack of clarity over the UK’s future relationship with the European Union is now having an impact on investment intentions in both the manufacturing and services sectors in particular.

The number of firms looking to invest in either plant and machinery or training dropped in both sectors to their lowest level in eight years.

The BCC has been calling for an end to the relentless uncertainty, which as the latest results from the survey highlight, has damaged the confidence and investment plans of business communities.

The government must ensure that a messy and disorderly exit is avoided and now provide businesses with certainty on future conditions.

Companies are facing increases in business costs, including compliance with Making Tax Digital from Monday 1 April, higher business rates for firms and increased employer pension contribution requirements – which are all raising the pressure for businesses across the UK at a time where government should be looking to reduce rather than increase burdens.

As we continue to await confirmation of the next steps in the UK leaving the EU, businesses interested in reading the full report can view this online at bit.ly/BCCQES1.

Alternatively, if you would like to request findings in the local survey, please contact our Policy department on 01905 673 600.