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A large proportion of firms in the hospitality sector are facing a decrease in cashflow, according to the latest Quarterly Economic Survey by the British Chambers of Commerce.

Quarterly survey shows little change in business confidence with economic headwinds still worrying firms 

1 min read

Levels of business confidence among UK firms remain largely unchanged, according to new research. 

The country’s longest-running independent business survey reveals that there has been no overall improvement in business conditions in the first quarter of the year as measured by investment, sales and cashflow – although in Staffordshire marginal improvements have been recorded. 

Against this background, only 56 per cent of UK businesses are expecting an increase in turnover in the next twelve months.  

Almost half of firms are expecting the price of their goods or services to rise. 

The figures are highlighted in the British Chambers of Commerce’s Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) for Q1 2024. 

Economic headwinds are shown to be battering numerous sectors – especially hospitality where 39 per cent of firms report a decrease in their cash flow, compared with 28 per cent of respondents overall.  

There is some slight variation in local figures, with the Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce reporting that 42 per cent of respondents to the survey reported an increase to domestic sales in the last three months against a national level of 36 per cent.  

The percentage of firms expecting their prices to rise stands at 31 per cent, compared to a national response of 46 per cent.  

However the general picture remains uncertain, with skills gap challenges ongoing. 

Declan Riddell, Policy Adviser at Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce, said: “Our QES stats from local businesses suggest a marginal improvement over national counterparts.  However, business confidence remains largely unchanged.   

 “While last week’s news on the rate of inflation falling back to 3.2 per cent is seen as a welcome development, increasing political and global uncertainty continue to worry our businesses.   

“The number of job vacancies continues to fall, and with unemployment ticking up, there are further signs that the labour market is cooling.   

“Too many firms are still struggling to find the people and skills they need to fill job vacancies.” 

Ron Quenby

Senior journalist with more than 25 years’ experience of working as a news reporter for provincial and national newspapers. Ron’s varied skills include feature writing, interviewing for real life stories and compiling specialist articles for in-house publications.

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