Nick Hopkinson, Director, Property Portfolio Rescue (PPR), comments on the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) Quarterly Economic Survey results:
“The BCC’s qualitative survey, which suggests a more positive mood from the small manufacturing sector, is in stark contrast with official figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), which highlight that manufacturing output actually fell 0.5% in May alone. Any manufacturing pick-up in the last couple of months is almost certainly due to re-building of depleted inventories and not real output growth. This simply reflects a slow down in the pace of UK economic decline or at best stagnation.
“Warnings about the dire consequences of planned National Insurance increases for employers by the BCC highlight just how fragile most businesses are. Has anyone seen any tangible benefit from ‘Quantitative Easing’, beyond shoring up bank balance sheets and helping them hide losses? Getting business overdrafts and loans is not getting any easier; in fact the cost of money continues to increase for small businesses, almost weekly at the moment. Business will struggle to grow again until finance is more accessible. With unemployment rising fast and GDP continuing to contract, there is no doubt that we face a challenging time ahead for at least the next year.”