THERE could be “dire consequences” for the economy if uncertainty surrounding Brexit and investment continues, according to a new report.

The report, commissioned by the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce, lays out concerns and issues experienced by businesses across the two counties.

The Quarterly Economic Survey, one of the largest of its type, says that although cash flow is faring much better than in the lead up to the first EU exit date in March, the majority of businesses are holding back on investment due to the changing circumstances surrounding Brexit.

In her foreword to the report, chief executive Sharon Smith said: “This report demonstrates that underlying economic conditions remained stagnant in the third quarter of 2019.

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“The figures for Q3 2019 paint a worrying picture. The minimal improvement demonstrated by Q2 results during the short reprieve in Brexit negotiations over the summer have all but dissipated.

“As businesses approach the second EU exit deadline the economic indicators demonstrate another challenging few months with real world implications for business operations, planning and investment.”

The report goes on to say that the number of businesses revising investment plans upwards is at its lowest level since the fourth quarter of 2013. The number of businesses reporting increased capital investment is at its lowest level since quarter four of 2012.

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The balance of businesses planning to increase capital expenditure has reduced by more than three quarters from 28 per cent (Q3 2018) to six per cent (Q3 2019) since this time last year, with the balance of companies planning to increase capital expenditure decreasing by more than two thirds since this time last year from 16 per cent (Q3 2018) to just five per cent in 2019.

According to the report: “The consequences for the British economy in terms of productivity and competitiveness will be dire if uncertainty continues to prevail, discouraging businesses away from capital investment.”

To read the full report, go to