‘Keep calm and carry on’ despite Brexit concerns
Business confidence in Kent has fallen faster than the national average as economic uncertainty makes it harder to plan investments, a new study indicates.
A monitoring tool of attitudes in the South East headed into negative territory in the third quarter survey by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW).
The confidence index in the region slipped to minus 10.1, worse than the national average of minus 8. This despite a backdrop of improved sales, up 4.8% year-on-year, and profit growth.
The ICAEW talks to 1,000 industry accountants, of which more than 170 came from the South East.
It showed the cost of raw materials and fuel grew faster than last year, at 3% this quarter, compared to 0.9% at the same time last year.
Capital expenditure is expected to rise by 2.1% over the next 12 months.
Andrew Griggs, senior partner at Kreston Reeves, which has offices in Canterbury, Chatham and Sandwich, said: “Businesses crave certainty – where they can control costs, such as wages – and protect profits. For many, the recent sudden weakening in sterling is making future planning and investment hard.
“That little material progress appears to have been made on in the Brexit negotiations with the EU will leave businesses nervous, particularly those with strong European connections.
“Political uncertainty following the weak UK election result will also have contributed.
“Brexit will inevitably lead to us being a more self-contained nation and there is a time adjustment for this to happen.
“Businesses for now need to ‘keep calm and carry on’.”
Andrew Griggs, senior parnter at Kreston Reeves